Saturday, June 19, 2021

Former private bank M.M. Warburg banker jailed in German tax fraud scandal

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A former executive at private bank M.M. Warburg on Tuesday became the first banker to be jailed over a multi-year scam to bilk the German state of billions of euros by filing bogus claims for tax rebates on stock dividends.

A court in Bonn handed down a sentence of five years and six months for tax evasion against the banker, a spokeswoman said. Two months were docked from the sentence of the banker, who was not named, due to the length of the trial.

The court also did not identify the banker’s attorney. Unless defendants are publicly well known, their identity can be protected under German law to avoid prejudicing legal proceedings.

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The regional court is hearing several cases over the so-called “cum-ex” scandal, in which bankers are accused of helping clients claim multiple rebates by shuffling ownership of shares on the day dividend payments fell due.

Two British bankers received suspended sentences in March 2020 for their part in the cum-ex fraud. Tuesday’s sentence, which can be appealed, is the first jail term to be imposed in the saga.

M.M. Warburg, which is based in Hamburg, said the sentence would have no financial impact on it. The bank, which has already settled tax dues owed from the years 2007-11, was dropped as a defendant in the case in February.

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