German authorities search homes, offices in tax fraud probe

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BERLIN (AP) — German authorities have raided the homes and offices of six businesspeople and bankers as part of an investigation into a massive tax fraud scheme.

Hesse state prosecutors said Tuesday in addition to 12 searches in Hesse and Bavaria, an apartment was searched in the Netherlands.

The suspects, aged between 50 and 57, are accused of bilking the government of 53.3 million euros ($59 million) in taxes in 2008-9 through so-called cum-ex transactions where participants would lend each other shares to collect reimbursement for taxes they hadn’t paid.

The funds have already been repaid by the legal successor of the Frankfurt-based investment company involved.

German authorities are conducting multiple cum-ex investigations after a Swiss bank’s employee leaked documents to journalists detailing the scheme that allegedly cost European countries 55.2 billion euros.

The searches are separate from others conducted Tuesday connected to money laundering.

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