Former Deutsche Post boss charged with tax evasion

8th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

German prosecutors expose a trail of Germany's wealthy tax evaders who have stashed away millions.

Bochum -- Former Deutsche Post chief Klaus Zumwinkel was charged with tax evasion in connection with funds salted away in the Alpine principality of Liechtenstein, German prosecutors said.

Zumwinkel, 64, was detained in February after prosecutors obtained evidence from Germany's BND foreign intelligence service on trusts managed by the Liechtenstein Bank LTG on behalf of wealthy tax shy Europeans.

Zumwinkel was released on bail after his villa was searched by police. Shortly there after he resigned as head of Deutsche Post, which is one of the world's leading logistics companies with a global workforce of more 350,000.

Prosecutors say he set up a trust for himself in 1986 but failed to disclose its earnings and dividends to German tax authorities: a duty required by law.

It is reported that Zumwinkel cheated Germany out of 1 million euros (1.29 million dollars) in taxes. If convicted he could face jail and a hefty fine.

Zumwinkel was one of hundreds of wealthy Germans exposed when a Liechtenstein bank executive betrayed them by selling a DVD with details of their accounts to the BND for about 5 million euros.

Since then, German prosecutors have recovered more than 150 million euros in arrears from repentant taxpayers hoping to ward off trials.

The first multi-millionaire up for trial received a suspended term of two years' jail in July for evading 7.5 million euros in tax between 2001 and 2006 and was told to pay another 7.5 million euros to charity.

Prosecutors in Bochum said they have opened inquiries against about 800 tax dodgers all over Germany. Under German tax law, they were supposed to report all dividends and interest earned abroad by trusts that they fully controlled.

Liechtenstein has denied abetting tax evasion, saying it is up to bank clients to honestly report their income in their home nations.


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