‘Cum-ex’ scandal: Neil Swift quoted in the press
On Tuesday, a German court found a former Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner guilty of aiding and abetting dividend tax fraud, in connection with the ‘cum-ex’ scandal.
Former head of tax, Ulf Johannemann, was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for his role in the fraud, having assisted the now-defunct Maple Bank to make use of a loophole to reclaim about €390 million in taxes.
Under the ‘cum-ex’ trading scheme, banks and investors quickly traded shares with and without dividend rights around their dividend payout day, in such a way that they could hide the stock ownership and enabling multiple parties to falsely claim tax rebates on dividends.
Neil Swift was quoted extensively in the press, commenting on the development, including in The Times, Reuters, Law.com and many others.
“Attitudes to tax avoidance have shifted. Mr Johannemann’s advice was given at a time when many clients had a higher risk appetite.
“Although at the time the illegality of cum-ex was not as straightforward and obvious as other frauds, not all advisers were prepared to put their names to the sort of opinions that the prosecution now characterise as flimsy, containing deliberate concealment and misrepresentation.
“The case shows that those whose flawed advice facilitated serious criminal conduct can expect severe criminal sanction.”