In the cum-ex scandal, which cost German taxpayers billions of euros, a bank boss has to go behind bars for the first time. The former head of Maple Bank GmbH was sentenced to four years and four months in prison by the Frankfurt Regional Court on Monday. Wolfgang Schuck (69) also has to pay a fine of 96,000 euros. Another 2.9 million euros from his assets will be confiscated.
A 58-year-old American received four years and two months and a 51-year-old trader three and a half years. Another 62-year-old banker who cooperated with prosecutors got away with a two-year suspended sentence. However, 5.7 million euros will be confiscated from him.
The cum-ex trading strategy exploited weaknesses in dividend taxation to have this levy reimbursed multiple times. Germany put a stop to the practice in 2012. The accused tax damage at Maple was around 388.6 million euros. The total costs that German taxpayers have incurred through Cum-Ex over the years are estimated at more than ten billion euros.
The Maple bankers have been under negotiation since May 2021. They pursued the strategy from 2006 to 2009 – initially within the banking group. From 2008 onwards, they then added other financial players as short sellers, including Barclays Plc, Bank of America Corp.'s Merrill Lynch. and Fortis Bank Netherlands NV. Those banks and Maple each colluded in the trades, the court said.
The Frankfurt bank was the German division of the Canadian bank Maple Financial Group Inc. It was closed by Bafin in 2016 because it was unable to shoulder the additional tax demands that accrued due to Cum-Ex. The Canadian parent company went into liquidation that same year.