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Denmark hits German bank with multi-million euro fine over tax fraud

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Denmark hits German bank with multi-million euro fine over tax fraud
Denmark's Tax Authority (Skattestyrelsen) in Copenhagen. Photo: Niels Christian Vilmann/Ritzau Scanpix
08:56 CEST+02:00
Denmark slapped a German bank with a fine of 110 million Danish kroner (14.7 million euros) on Monday in a case which is part of the biggest fraud scandal the Scandinavian country has seen.

The case relates to the European "cum-ex" tax scam. 

North Channel Bank was found guilty of facilitating "1.1 billion kroner (that) was unjustifiably paid out from the Danish treasury," according to a statement by the Danish Prosecution Service.

The German bank admitted its role in the fraud case and accepted the fine at the district court in the Copenhagen suburb of Glostrup, the statement continued.

The case is part of a wider affair in which Denmark is estimated to have lost 1.7 billion euros to fraudulent tax return claims.

First revealed in Denmark in 2015, it is considered the largest case of tax fraud in the history of the country, which is now revising its tax code.

The scam centred around companies, funds or individuals using a system of exchanging stocks in companies to claim multiple tax rebates for a single dividend payout.

The so-called "CumEx-Files", an investigation published last October by big-name European outlets including German public broadcaster ARD and French newspaper Le Monde, showed that the practice was also used around Europe, costing Germany 7.2 billion euros and Belgium 201 million euros since 2001.

Danish prosecutors said the crime was committed when a number of actors made several fictitious stock trades to create "a paper trail," and that the bank played a "crucial role" in its creation.

Capital gains made on the Danish stock market are normally taxed at 27 percent, but treaties between Denmark and certain countries allow beneficiaries based in these countries to be refunded all or part of this tax.

"It's very satisfying that we now have the first conviction in a court in the dividend cases," prosecutor Kirsten Dyrman, said in a statement.

"All together this is the biggest fraud case in the history of Denmark, and has resulted (in) a significant loss for society and the treasury," she added.

In March, Danish tax authorities reported that they had taken legal action against 470 individuals and companies related to the affair.

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