German police have searched the offices of Clearstream, a subsidiary of the German stock exchange company Deutsche Boerse, over “proceedings concerning cum-ex transactions,” a spokesperson of the district attorney’s office of the city of Cologne announced on Tuesday.
Clearstream is suspected of having provided aid for tax evasion in the context of so-called cum-ex deals, according to German newspaper Handelsblatt, which first reported on the police raids.
The controversial cum-ex deals took advantage of the already abandoned German practice of taxing dividends, which enabled investors to obtain multiple refunds on a tax paid only once.
The searches were carried out “as part of investigations into customers and employees,” said a spokesperson of Deutsche Boerse, adding that the company, which is among the thirty largest German companies, would cooperate “completely” with the investigating authorities.
According to Handelsblatt, the German authorities believe that Clearstream had advised “various banks” regarding cum-ex deals.
The German newspaper had learned from anonymous sources that there would be growing evidence that Clearstream “played a central role in the alleged illegal deals”.
The offices of Clearstream in Germany’s neighbor Luxembourg would also have been searched, according to Handelsblatt.
Cum-ex is considered to be one of the largest tax scandals in German history. With cum-ex transactions, investors were able to obtain refunds for capital gains tax multiple times, even if the tax was only paid once.
For now, the damages caused by such deals to German taxpayers remain unknown.