BERLIN, Jan 25 (Reuters) – BNP Paribas said on Wednesday that prosecutors were searching its Frankfurt premises as part of an long-running investigation into a multibillion-euro tax fraud scheme known as “cum-ex” and that it was cooperating fully.
German prosecutors said they have been conducting a search at a banking institution in Frankfurt since Tuesday in relation to cum-ex, without naming the bank.
“Like we already have done since the beginning of the investigation in 2017, we continue to fully cooperate with the public prosecutor according to legal requirements,” a spokesperson for the bank said.
The prosecutors said their investigation also involved searches of private residences in three German states and is focused on 58 suspects who were or are professionally active for the bank.
The measure is aimed at finding relevant emails and written correspondence, they said.
Around 130 police officers, public prosecutors and tax investigators are involved, they said.
The cum-ex trading scheme, which flourished after the 2008 credit crisis, involved the rapid dealing of company shares around dividend payout days, blurring stock ownership and allowing multiple parties to claim rebates.
The scandal has blighted German political and financial circles, with lawmakers claiming it has cost taxpayers billions of euros.
A large number of banks have been searched by prosecutors investigating possible wrongdoing, with German branches of Barclays, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley among those raided in recent months.
Government officials say the investigation involves some 100 banks on four continents and at least 1,000 suspects.
Reporting by Marta Orosz; writing by Miranda Murray; editing by Madeline Chambers, Alexandra Hudson and Jason Neely