Deutsche Telekom cuts former board chief loose

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Klaus Zumwinkel had been head of the operator’s supervisory board until February, when he stepped down amid a high-profile tax fraud scandal.

Frankfurt -- Deutsche Telekom directors cut loose former supervisory board chief and convicted tax cheat Klaus Zumwinkel by urging shareholders on Wednesday to withhold votes of confidence in him.

The management and supervisory boards of Europe's biggest telecommunications operator recommended that shareholders called to an April 30 general assembly give 2008 supervisory board members their votes of confidence "with the exception of Mr. Klaus Zumwinkel," according to invitations to the event.

Zumwinkel had been head of the supervisory board until February 15, 2008, when he stepped down amid a high-profile tax fraud scandal.

He was convicted in January of cheating German tax authorities through use of a trust in the Alpine principality of Liechtenstein.

Zumwinkel was given a two-year suspended jail sentence and a million-euro (1.3-million-dollar) fine, after his arrest marked the start of the biggest tax probe in Germany's history.

Germany has since pursued a campaign to close tax loopholes from which several European neighbours have benefited.

This week, it emerged that Zumwinkel did not reveal at this trial he had been paid his full pension of about 20 million euros as former boss of Deutsche Telekom's logistics unit Deutsche Post, a position he also quit on February 15, 2008.

During the trial he evaluated his personal worth at 13 million euros.

Zumwinkel has also been allegedly implicated in a spy scandal at Deutsche Telekom and several of his residences were raided recently in connection with related investigations.


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