Panama Pa­pers: Ger­man au­thor­i­ties carry out first raids in con­nec­tion with tax leaks

Ger­man of­fi­cials have re­port­edly seized 2 mil­lion eu­ros from funds em­bez­zled by a for­mer man­ager at Siemens.The Ger­man com­pany’s slush fund was dis­closed in last year’s leaked Panama Pa­pers

The Daily News Egypt - - International -

DW—Ger­many’s Fed­eral Crim­i­nal Po­lice Of­fice (BKA) has car­ried out its first in­ves­ti­ga­tion after pur­chas­ing the so-called Panama Pa­pers from an anony­mous in­for­mant ear­lier this year.

Ac­cord­ing to Ger­man me­dia, fed­eral of­fi­cers seized two mil­lion eu­ros ($2.35 mil­lion) from an old slush fund owned by in­dus­trial gi­ant Siemens.The money was re­port­edly em­bez­zled into Ger­many from South Amer­ica by a for­mer com­pany man­ager, Hans-Joachim Kohls­dorf.

A decade ago, the pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice in Mu­nich found that Siemens had bribed of­fi­cials and gov­ern­ments the world over in ex­change for lu­cra­tive con­tracts.The seized funds, which were taken from two Com­merzbank branches in Frank­furt and Ham­burg, are thought to be linked to the com­pany’s sys­tem of bribes.

Kohls­dorf, who for decades held sev­eral im­por­tant po­si­tions at Siemens, was also tar­geted by in­ves­ti­ga­tors then. But charges against him were dis­missed due to a lack of ev­i­dence that he had ever paid a bribe him­self. He cur­rently lives in Mex­ico, and it re­mains un­clear whether Ger­many will seek his ex­tra­di­tion.

BKA’s Panama Pa­pers com­mis­sion

In July,the BKA agreed to pay 5 mil­lion eu­ros to pur­chase the Panama Pa­pers, a trove of doc­u­ments stolen from the Pana­ma­nian law firm Mos­sack Fon­seca im­pli­cat­ing in­di­vid­u­als stash­ing their wealth in off­shore tax havens.

The BKA has since set up a spe­cial com­mis­sion made up of 25 in­tel­li­gence and seven tax in­ves­ti­ga­tors, tasked with eval­u­at­ing the doc­u­ments and de­cid­ing whether to pur­sue the Ger­man na­tion­als im­pli­cated.

A joint in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­lished on Tues­day by the Ger­man Süd­deutsche Zeitung daily, as well as broad­cast­ers WDR and NDR, re­vealed that the BKA is also prob­ing three other cases.

Seven fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions, and the perti­nent doc­u­ments, have also been handed down to pub­lic pros­e­cu­tors.These are be­lieved to con­cern fraud, tax of­fences or money laun­der­ing, and in­clude new find­ings into an old af­fair im­pli­cat­ing Deutsche Bank, as well as the bribery scan­dal that rocked Siemens a decade ago.

As well as work­ing with in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials in the United States and United King­dom, Ger­man au­thor­i­ties have also pro­vided their coun­ter­parts in Ice­land with in­for­ma­tion on for­mer Prime Min­is­ter David Gunnlaugs­son. The for­mer Ice­landic pre­mier was forced to re­sign last year after the leaked pa­pers re­vealed that he had man­aged un­der-the-ta­ble deal­ings in­volv­ing an off­shore com­pany.

Kohls­dorf, who for decades held sev­eral im­por­tant po­si­tions at Siemens, was also tar­geted by in­ves­ti­ga­tors

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Egypt

© PressReader. All rights reserved.