Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Suspected tax evasion: raid at Commerzbank – tagesschau.de

Suspected tax evasion: raid at Commerzbank – tagesschau.de

Date: 24/02/2015 17:08 clock

investigators nationwide have searched offices and private homes on suspicion of tax evasion. According to research by NDR, WDR and “SZ” Commerzbank is in the center of the investigation. They should have given over their Luxembourg subsidiary, like other investment advisers also shell companies. Previously Luxembourg had rejected a legal aid request.

From Jan Lukas Strozyk, NDR

have investigators on Tuesday Commerzbank in Frankfurt am Main and dozens of offices and private homes searched in a nationwide campaign. Hundreds of investors, bankers and financial advisors are suspected to have systematically evaded taxes through offshore companies abroad or helped.

Through its Luxembourg subsidiary to Commerzbank, as well as more investment advisers, German customers have letterbox taught in Panama and other tax havens to evade taxes. The investigators believe that the Frankfurt Commerzbank headquarters has been informed of the proceedings. Most of the raids took place in the Rhineland, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate instead.

For the investigation, some 35 specialists of the tax in North Rhine-Westphalia and employees of the “investigation team have organized merged crime and tax evasion “(EOKS) from Dusseldorf. The raid was months of organizing, with more to come

The investigators go to a few hundred German clients and intermediaries before, who have worked with the Mossack Fonseca Group together -. A law firm based in Panama, which specializes in so-called offshore companies and offices operating in 33 countries. The Wuppertal tax investigation has purchased a customer list for just under a million euros a few months ago. Most of the noted there investors have opened their shell companies through banks or consultant in Luxembourg.

Several thousand cases worldwide

documents only a small part of a record, NDR, WDR and “Süddeutsche Zeitung” exists. In the 80 Gigabyte customer data Mossack Fonseca Group, thousands find documents and records to the creation of front companies on behalf of customers from all over the world, plus a six-digit number of e-mails from the commerce of Mossack Fonseca Group.

The documents are still being evaluated, according to initial estimates, data leakage affects several thousand customers in approximately 100 countries. In addition, several hundred banks, law firms and financial advisors emerge from dozens of countries that have occurred as a mediator of the business. The Wuppertal investigators have apparently bought the part of the data, the German customer concerns

The documents show in detail how the system works with the front companies. <- - MediaCon!>: customers who wanted to hide their money before the tax office or someone else, a shell company in Mossack Fonseca Group could buy for example through Commerzbank in Luxembourg. On behalf of the offshore company accounts were then in turn opened with banks in Europe, especially in Luxembourg and Switzerland. The German customers were given as to access these accounts without tax investigators they can use it to get in touch. Obfuscations as these have been particularly popular in order to circumvent the introduced 2005 of the EU Savings Directive, must be taxed with certain investment income from private individuals.

No legal assistance from Luxembourg

According to information from the NDR, the German tax investigators have been asking for legal assistance in Luxembourg prior months. The request was refused on the grounds that the evidence for a systematic fraud were insufficient.

Luxembourg became difficult at the same time because of dubious tax practices in the criticism. An international team of journalists had uncovered under the heading “Luxembourg leaks” that the country has hundreds of large global corporations enables massive tax reductions. For subgroups so only a few thousand euros paid billions in sales taxes


NDR, WDR and “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported for example that For example, the energy company E.ON saves through in-house lending over Luxembourg massive taxes. The current president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, had supported the system of tax relief as a financial and Prime Minister of Luxembourg for years. He had always emphasized that the agreements were not illegal. The EU Competition Commission reviewed this just in several cases

Commerzbank said on request in writing. “The investigation is based on old cases, the (…) we will explore in-house and worked up in cooperation with the investigating authorities. ” It said the bank had given up the business practices and lean “business with customers whose tax status is unclear.”

And the Mossack Fonseca Group said in a written response to inquiry “Süddeutsche Zeitung” with, we do not work together directly with the end user, but with banks and asset managers, who in turn sell the letterbox companies. Therefore, the Mossack Fonseca Group is also not responsible for any offense the end user.


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