Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) has had to ask himself several questions about the cum-ex scandal
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Those involved in the Cum-Ex scandal should be able to be prosecuted for much longer than before.
Bundestag parliamentary groups of the CDU / CSU and SPD agreed to raise the limitation period for serious tax evasion from ten to 15 years.
The clock is ticking because, according to the current legal situation, many Cum-Ex share deals could no longer be punished as a criminal offense from the beginning of 2021.
Therefore, the Bundestag and Bundesrat should agree before Christmas.
The "Rheinische Post" had previously reported.
Most recently, only an increase to 12 years was planned, now there are more.
One reason: In the deliberations, it was considered possible that, with a 12-year specification, some cum-ex profiteers would still fall through the cracks and could no longer be prosecuted.
With the 15-year deadline, the authorities now have more time to identify the cases that have so far been in the dark and to bring them to court.
As of the end of October, 69 criminal proceedings were pending against 927 natural persons at the Cologne public prosecutor's office, and the number is rising.
In cum-ex transactions, banks traded shares before (cum) and after (ex) payment of the stock dividends.
For this purpose, shares with (cum) and without (ex) dividend entitlement were shifted back and forth between several participants around the dividend cut-off date.
Tax authorities then reimbursed capital gains taxes that had not been paid.
The state suffered damage that could amount to 30 billion euros.
There is time pressure for the change in the law because many Cum-Ex participants claimed their deals for tax purposes in 2010 - these cases would be statute-barred at the beginning of 2021 under the current legal situation.
There is a second point that is relevant for Cum-Ex in the context of the tax reform: illegally obtained profits should also be able to be confiscated in statute-barred cases.
So if even the 15-year period should not be enough to shed light on the darkness, financial jugglers could no longer be prosecuted - but they would have to give up their cum-ex profits at the expense of the general public.
"We want that no cum-ex-perpetrator gets away with punishment and harm"
"The message is clear," said SPD parliamentary deputy Achim Post of the "Rheinische Post".
"We want no Cum-Ex perpetrator to get away with serious tax evasion without punishment or harm." His counterpart in the Union parliamentary group, Andreas Jung, also welcomed the change - he insisted on "zero tolerance" for Cum-Ex cases.
The Berlin agreement is also good news for North Rhine-Westphalia's Justice Minister Peter Biesenbach (CDU) and confirmation of his position - he had spoken out in favor of the 15-year deadline a long time ago in a Federal Council initiative.
Accordingly, he was satisfied.
With the increase of the deadline it will be possible to arrest even more Cum-Ex participants, explained Biesenbach.
"That is good news for the citizens."
Icon: The mirror
kim / dpa