Friday, 9 June 2017

Germany fears huge losses in massive tax scandal

It is reckoned to be the biggest tax scandal in German post-war history.

An international group of bankers, lawyers and stockbrokers - reportedly with links to the City of London - appears to have fiddled the tax system, employing practices which were at best unethical, at worst illegal.

Ultimately they may have deprived the state of nearly €32bn (£28bn; $36bn). As the German broadcaster ARD wryly noted, that would have paid for repairs to a lot of schools and bridges.

The newspaper Die Zeit adds that the sum would more than cover the cost of the refugee influx for a year.

Prosecutors have been investigating for some time. And gradually it is emerging that large-scale tax avoidance was taking place right under the noses of the authorities.
And that - in some cases - they turned a blind eye to practices employed, not just by individuals out to make a fortune, but by some of the country's biggest banks and respected businesses.

We may never really know the full extent of those practices; largely because they involved fiendishly complex transactions, which German media broadly divide into two kinds.

In the first type, German banks and stockbrokers bought and sold shares for foreign investors in a way which allowed them to claim a tax refund for which they were not eligible. Many question the legality of the practice.

BBC     News.

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