Author: Salomé Lemasson 6 April 2022
With the high-profile Cum-Ex trial of tax attorney Hanno Berger beginning in Bonn, Law360 asked Salomé Lemasson for her assessment of the German approach to financial crime.
Berger is on trial over his alleged involvement in the share-selling scandal that exploited a loophole in dividend payments, which led to governments paying out huge amounts in capital gains tax rebates.
Despite his prosecution, some commentators have said that German financial laws are not robust enough to prevent illegal activity. They have cited German failures to tackle money laundering and the activities of Russian oligarchs and argued that the country needs to take a tougher stance when it comes to enforcement.
Salomé told Law360 that the German authorities are showing that they are taking financial crime seriously, as they are seeking to hold to account “the entire spectrum of actors’’ in the Cum-Ex scandal, including lawyers and tax advisers.
She warned that legal advisers and tax experts who had involvement in Cum-Ex will have to ensure they do not rely on the defence that they were only providing advice.
Salomé's comments featured on Law360. (Subscription required)
Of Counsel Head of EU Business Crime and Regulatory Practice Group
Salomé works on Europe’s most challenging and significant white-collar and complex crime cross-border cases. She leads Rahman Ravelli’s EU Business Crime and Regulatory Practice Group, representing and advising companies and individuals in high-stakes investigations.