Second Ex-Freshfields Partner Charged in German Tax Probe

A second former partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP was charged in a German Cum-Ex probe over advisory work on the controversial trading strategy for bankrupt investment boutique Maple Bank.

Frankfurt prosecutors confirmed they indicted another lawyer in the same case without disclosing any names. The man is ex-Freshfields partner Tobias T., two people familiar with the case said. Under German media law, the 46-year-old lawyer can’t be fully identified.

Prosecutors in November indicted Ulf Johannemann alongside six former bankers allegedly involved in aggravated tax-evasion over Maple’s deals. They now added Tobias T. who, according to prosecutors, provided legal opinions under Johannemann’s leadership to white-wash the deals. The trades on which Tobias T. worked were done from 2007 to 2009 and caused tax losses of 346 million euros ($390 million), according to the charges.

A Freshfields spokesman declined to comment.

More and more indictments are being filed in Germany over Cum-Ex, a trading strategy that lawmakers say cost the government at least 10 billion euros in lost revenue. There are dozens of lenders caught up in the growing scandal roiling the financial industry. Two former London investment bankers were convicted in March in the first trial over Cum-Ex in Bonn but avoided jail time because of their cooperation with the authorities.

Cum-Ex trades, named for the Latin term for “With-Without,” took advantage of German tax laws and allowed multiple investors to claim refunds on a dividend levy that was paid only once. The government moved to abolish the maneuver in 2012.

Johannemann left Freshfields late last year and was briefly put in custody in December as part of the probe. Tobias T. left the firm earlier this month.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

BQ Install

Bloomberg Quint

Add BloombergQuint App to Home screen.