The offices of the British bank Barclays have been raided in Frankfurt in connection with the CumEx-Files tax scandal amid allegations that banks defrauded the treasuries of numerous European countries of over EUR 55 billion.
Barclays is one of the biggest players in the CumEx-Files tax scandal, which first came to light in 2017, according to German public prosecutors, with officials now reported to have raided Barclays’ offices in Frankfurt, in the western German state of Hesse, on Tuesday (29th March).
Most of the cum-ex transactions at Barclays allegedly took place in the British capital London, but some German employees are also said to face accusations of fraud.
The revelation comes a week after German prosecutors raided the offices of Merrill Lynch, an American multinational investment and wealth management division of the Bank of America Corporation.
The authorities are reportedly looking for indications of involvement in illegal cum-ex deals.
Eighty prosecutors, detectives and tax investigators reportedly searched the German branch of the US investment bank.
A spokesperson for the British bank Barclays, which is headquartered in London, told German media: “We can confirm the search of our Frankfurt office by the Cologne public prosecutor’s office yesterday morning.”
Barclays also reportedly indicated that it was cooperating with the German authorities after the Cologne public prosecutor’s office announced search warrants had been issued and executed against a bank in Frankfurt and against an auditing company.
The private homes of two unnamed suspects have also been searched. It is currently unclear if the suspects are British nationals, German citizens, or if they are from other countries.
The cum-ex scandal was uncovered by a number of European media outlets in 2017 and is said to involve a network of banks, stock traders and lawyers allegedly defrauding European treasuries of billions of euros in a fraudulent system involving speculation and dividends taxes.
The aim was allegedly to obtain a double refund on capital gains tax that had only been paid once.
For years, outfits alleged to have been operating along these lines were considered highly profitable sources of income for the banks, with an entire industry of sellers and buyers, consultants and investors, lawyers and arrangers allegedly involved in the billion-euro scam.
The alleged fraud is said to have cost European treasuries over EUR 55 billion (GBP 46.4 billion; USD 61.0 billion), with Germany said to have suffered the brunt of the alleged scams.