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Swiss court allows extradition of ‘former’ person to Germany

FILE PHOTO: Wiesbaden trial against Hanno Berger
FILE PHOTO: A lawyer for main defendant Hanno Berger reads in his filing before the start of the “Cum-Ex” stock trading trial in Wiesbaden, Germany, March 25, 2021. Boris Roessler/ Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

December 22, 2021

ZURICH (Reuters) – A Swiss court has authorized the extradition of Hanno Berger to Germany, a German lawyer and tax expert accused of playing a key role in a years-long tax fraud case.

The scandal, known as “cum-cum”, is Germany’s largest post-war fraud involving a stock trading scheme that authorities say has cost taxpayers billions of euros.

According to prosecutors, the scheme was promoted by Berger, a tax advisor turned German tax inspector, and others.

Berger, 71, who has helped represent himself, has always denied any wrongdoing and says what he did was to follow the law.

His Swiss lawyer was not immediately available to comment on the Federal Criminal Court ruling, which could be appealed to Switzerland’s supreme court.

Berger was arrested in the Swiss canton of Grisons on 7 July based on an extradition request from Germany.

The scheme involves rapidly trading shares of large companies around a group of banks, investors and hedge funds to give the impression of multiple owners, each with a discount. Taxes are not real.

This activity flourished between 2005 and 2012, a period that includes the years after the financial crisis and when banks were bailed out by the state. A loophole that prompted the transactions was later closed.

The gross tax fraud has been the subject of numerous investigations across Germany as the government tries to recover billions of euros it says have been stolen from the state.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Jason Neely, editing by Mark Potter)

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Bobby Allyn

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