Mon, 02 Oct 2023

BERLIN, May 30 (Xinhua) -- A central figure in the German "cum-ex" tax fraud scandal was sentenced to over eight years in prison on Tuesday, which was the second time he was convicted.

The Wiesbaden Regional Court handed down the hefty term of eight years and three months to tax lawyer Hanno Berger, as well as ordering the confiscation of 1.1 million euros (1.18 million U.S. dollars) in assets.

Berger is considered to have paved the way for a business model allowing for wide-scale tax rebates on sums that were never paid, both in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Berger, 72, was accused of single-handedly causing tax damage of around 113 million euros in Germany alone between 2006 and 2008.

Once a civil servant in the tax administration of the state of Hesse, Berger evaded German justice for years by fleeing to Switzerland. He was extradited in February 2022, and sentenced to eight years in prison last December by the Bonn Regional Court.

Therefore, along with Tuesday's verdict Berger now faces a total sentence of total sentence of up to 15 years, which is legal maximum in Germany. However, the first verdict by the court in Bonn is not yet legally binding as an appeal has been lodged at the German Federal Court of Justice (BGH).

The German state is believed to have lost at least ten billion euros to the "cum-ex" tax loophole, which was closed in 2012. Two years ago, the BGH ruled that "cum-ex" deals are to be legally treated as tax evasion. (1 euro = 1.07 U.S. dollar)

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