For years, investors have cheated the tax authorities with cum-ex stock deals. Now a driving force in the affair is coming to court for a second time.

In the tax scandal involving cum-ex stock transactions, which is worth billions, a second trial against the key figure Hanno Berger begins: The tax attorney is to answer before the Wiesbaden district court from this Thursday.

In the proceedings against the 71-year-old on suspicion of tax evasion, hearing dates are scheduled until August. (AZ: 6 KLs – 1111 Js 18753/21). Berger has also been on trial in Bonn since April.

Berger, a former tax official, is considered the architect of the cum-ex deals in Germany, in which banks and other investors never had taxes refunded and thus cheated the state by an estimated two-digit billion amount. Berger advised banks and wealthy investors on the construction of the stock deals. He had rejected the allegations and argued that it was a tax-saving model that was legal at the time.

Almost 100 pages of indictment

In the 948-page indictment, the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office accuses Berger of having obtained certificates for a good 113 million euros in unpaid taxes in share transactions between 2006 and 2008. Together with former employees of the Hypo-Vereinsbank, Dax shares with a volume of 15.8 billion euros were traded using a complex system. The profits were then split.

Many banks are involved in the Cum-Ex scandal. Investors pushed shares with («cum») and without («ex») dividend rights back and forth around the dividend record date. The aim of the confusion was the refund of capital gains taxes that had not been paid. The loophole in the law was not closed until 2012. For a long time it was unclear whether such share transactions are punishable by law. In July 2021, the Federal Court of Justice ruled that cum-ex transactions are to be classified as tax evasion.

At the end of February, Berger was extradited from Switzerland to Germany at the instigation of the judiciary in Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. He should have appeared in a cum-ex trial at the Wiesbaden district court in March last year, but stayed away. Therefore, the case against him was severed.