- Luxembourg banks, lawyers and asset managers are said to have helped the German tax evasion through the establishment of offshore companies at a service provider in Panama.
- It is the first major use of the new investigation team “Organized crime and tax evasion “of the LKA Dusseldorf.
- The Luxembourg subsidiary of Commerzbank said to have systematically abetting tax evasion. This is indicated by internal e-mails back.
From Bastian Brinkmann, Hans Leyendecker, Bastian Obermayer and Klaus Ott
For months now, the Commission of Inquiry “channel” planned their use. The tax authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia had purchased for just under a million euros a record in which hundreds of alleged German tax evaders are detected. The taxman had, as usual, the authenticity of the material verified identities were checked, tax records retrieved. It’s about Luxembourg. Again.
While Jean-Claude Juncker, the new European Commission and former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, affair explained again and again in the fall of 2014 in the “Lux leaks”, the Luxembourg financial center was “all legal” been the EK “channel” began to look at things more closely. And they came to stay in the picture on some überquillende septic tank in the Grand Duchy. It stinks. Investigators are not to be envied. In how many channels they will rise?
Everything legal? The investigators see it differently
Many banks in Luxembourg and almost ninety Lawyers and asset managers are said to have helped German clients for tax evasion, through the establishment of offshore companies at a service provider in Panama. There will probably be in the investigation, which was initiated by the prosecution Cologne, also go to the accusations of money laundering soon. Anyway exclusively illegal.
It’s about exotic locations and at much dirty money. There is a large method that also deals with the customs in a neighboring country, and is already amazing what the little ones get married there. Again and again.
This is the first major use
Just recently, a new investigation team “Organized crime and tax evasion” was (EOKS) when Landeskriminalamt Dusseldorf furnished. Organized tax evasion and serious crime have much in common, that is the idea. EOKS designed the course of the procedure and set the EK “channel” in march. It is the first major use of the new investigation team.
The event was planned by the investigators in North Rhine-Westphalia, but on Tuesday the Hessen and Bavarian investigators and tax inspectors from Trier were involved. In Rhineland-Palatinate were as close to the border, residences of employees Luxembourg financial service searches, which are of the aid suspect.
Commerzbank Manager ask for Offshore Company
Even at Commerzbank in Frankfurt appeared investigators with a search warrant on. Very discreet, it will be received. It’s about the activities of the Luxembourg subsidiary of Commerzbank, also they should have done systematically aid for years for tax evasion.
These are the investigators many documents and the corresponding mail traffic in front. So as:. Commerzbank manager check lists of names of available offshore companies, they ask for a passport copy of the front men for any business, they send documents in which the true representative called
The bank said the cases were “in-house” examines and worked in cooperation with the authorities. We have customers whose “tax status” was not clear invited since 2009 to provide clarity. Since 2007′ve Commerzbank International in Luxembourg “the mere transmission of customer requests” to providers of shell companies “strictly prohibited”.
But questions remain, and Commerzbank is just the beginning. Under similar suspicions are other Luxembourg subsidiaries of large German banks. The tax investigators assume that the parent companies knew about the secret shops. The investigations are to run in waves. The investigators have several hundred suspicious individuals in sight, to come Financial Services, Bank Manager and resident in Germany advisor.
It is also against the responsible Panama-based Mossack Fonseca Group, she has finally created all those shell companies whose interior now the commission of inquiry “channel” explored – on the basis of internal documents of the company. The Mossack Fonseca Group is one of the major international supplier of shell companies, it is also criticized for years for it to do with pretty much any business that has something to hide.
The history of this major crackdown begins on July 1, 2005 then EU Savings Directive has been transposed into national law in Luxembourg. A 15 percent initially, later even 35 percent withholding tax on interest income of citizens of other EU countries should be forwarded anonymously. But the cash flow from Luxembourg failed to materialize. Were Instead of the accused – and very probably by some over the previously placed flown actors in the Grand Duchy -. The same series as established offshore companies to hide the money and avoid the withholding tax
Now it is the one if a bank like HSBC Geneva its German customers helps from a non-EU country to avoid an EU tax – which is known since the Swiss leaks. But the EU Savings Directive was adopted by Luxembourg, the then Prime Minister and Finance Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, albeit reluctantly. At the same time the next few years helped over massively in his country to circumvent them. This can be called chutzpah.
“In this context not relevant”
Speaking of chutzpah. In November 2014 – at the height of the Lux leaks revelations – Cologne, the prosecutor’s office for legal assistance, because the Commission investigators “channel” To search by a financial service in Luxembourg, has supervised numerous German customers. They have initiated proceedings against him. Investigators are voluntary disclosures by customers of the accused before, showing that the suspicion of the investigators is not pulled out of thin air.
The Luxembourg attorney general rejects the request for assistance. The thing with the voluntary disclosure was “not relevant in this context.” After “hiesigem understanding of the law” if it were an isolated case. Luxembourg grant but according to the tax code, the only legal assistance in cases of tax fraud. Which could only exist “if the taxpayer systematically fraudulent acts” have made. “The mere fact” that the accused by asset managers ‘funds are deposited in societies is not solely sufficient as a fraud situation’. The seizure of the customer data in Luxembourg was not possible on this basis.
The rejection letter is from the First Advocate Jeannot Nies. He says that if the German authorities provided new insights, Luxembourg will examine the case again and then maybe but to comply. So this was discussed with the prosecutor Cologne. The previous information would not just be sufficient. Moreover alone decide the Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Justice have nothing to do. So it was regulated by law since August 2000 says Nies.