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Cum-ex tax fraud: Former top lawyer Hanno Berger has to go to prison for eight years


He was one of the most prominent tax lawyers in Germany, then he became the face of the cum-ex scandal. The district court in Bonn has now sentenced Hanno Berger to a long prison sentence. And that might just be the beginning.

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Hanno Berger

, once a top lawyer, now a convicted tax fraudster

Photo: Arne Dedert / dpa

The Bonn regional court has sentenced the key figure in the cum-ex stock deals,

Hanno Berger

, to eight years in prison.

The 72-year-old is guilty of tax evasion, the court ruled on Tuesday.

According to the court, Berger helped in three cases to relieve the state coffers by a total of 280 million euros.

Prosecutors had asked for nine years in prison.

Berger's lawyer,

Richard Beyer,

had refrained from naming a penalty in his plea.

He has a deep faith in the goodness of the court, he explained.

Hanno Berger is probably the most famous face behind the cum-ex machine.

After he accidentally stumbled across the tax fraud scam in 2005, with which banks were already making billions, he conveyed the business model to numerous private investors and the wealthy.

At first he was considered a star and undefeated champion in the realm of tax laws.

Later as the "Spiritus Rector" (Wiesbaden public prosecutor's office) behind the whole industry, as a prototype of the tax evader: highly intelligent, unscrupulous, unreasonable.

Berger comes from a family of lawyers and civil servants, his father was a pastor.

After graduating, he initially pursued a career in administration, became a tax officer and was considered one of the best tax specialists in Hesse.

But at the age of 45 he succumbed to the temptations of the other side, who offered him a multiple of his official salary and a company car.

Within a few years, he became one of the most sought-after tax attorneys in the country.

Between 2005 and 2011, Berger convinced numerous investors of the Cum-ex business idea.

The process in Bonn is initially about three of these transactions, with which around 280 million euros in taxes were wrongly reimbursed.

The Hamburg private bank MM Warburg was reimbursed almost 170 million euros.

As part of this deal, the bank's former chief representative was sentenced to five and a half years in prison last summer.

Two funds from the Warburg subsidiary Warburg Invest were reimbursed for a further 110 million euros.

As part of this deal, a Warburg top manager was sentenced to three and a half years in prison in February.

Both judgments are now final.

After the investigations against him began, Berger fled to Switzerland at the end of 2012, where he was able to evade German justice for years.

He was only extradited to Germany in February 2022 and has been in custody ever since.

Parallel to the Bonn trial, another criminal trial is being conducted against him before the Wiesbaden district court.

The verdict is expected there next year.


Source: spiegel

All news articles on 2022-12-13

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