Geneva may profit from French banker's death

7th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

GENEVA, April 7 (AFP) - Geneva's tax coffers could receive a windfall from the murder of wealthy French banker Edouard Stern, as his heir or heirs may have to pay millions of euros in inheritance tax to the canton's authorities, financial news magazine Bilan reported this week.

GENEVA, April 7 (AFP) - Geneva's tax coffers could receive a windfall from the murder of wealthy French banker Edouard Stern, as his heir or heirs may have to pay millions of euros in inheritance tax to the canton's authorities, financial news magazine Bilan reported this week.

Stern was found dead in his Geneva apartment on March 1, shot four times.

His former lover, 36-year-old Cecile Brossard, has admitted killing him after a stormy four-year relationship.

Stern, 50, was the former heir-apparent to his father-in-law, Michel David-Weill, chairman and controlling shareholder of the French investment bank Lazard Freres. One of France's richest men, he was separated from his wife, Beatrice David-Weill, who lives in New York with their three children.

According to the bimonthly Bilan, the banker benefited from a special Swiss tax break for wealthy foreigners, under which they pay relatively little income tax while they live in the country but on their death their heirs must pay inheritance tax.

In Stern's case, the inheritance tax could range anywhere from CHF 30 to 78 million (EUR 20 to 50 million, USD 25 to 65 million).

In 2004, Swiss authorities abolished inheritance tax for its residents, with the exception of wealthy foreigners who benefit from the special tax break.

The abolition of inheritance tax has led to a decline in revenues for Geneva tax authorities of CHF 65 million (EUR 41.9 million).

Geneva tax authorities refused to confirm the magazine's claim that Stern benefited from the special tax break, citing fiscal secrecy.

Some 600 people in Geneva benefit from the special tax rate, according to official statistics. They paid a total of CHF 60 million (EUR 38.7 million) in tax in 2003.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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