Key figure in German tax scam case convicted, gets 8 years

BERLIN (AP) — A key figure in a massive German tax evasion case was convicted Tuesday of three counts of tax evasion and sentenced to eight years in prison.

The state court in Bonn convicted German lawyer Hanno Berger in connection with alleged crimes between 2007 and 2011, German news agency dpa reported.

The 72-year-old, a former German tax official who later became an adviser to banks, funds and investors, was arrested last year in Switzerland, where he had been since 2012. He was extradited to Germany in February.

Berger was charged in connection with the so-called cum-ex scheme, which has spawned a series of legal cases. He was accused of helping investment bankers who swapped shares to collect multiple reimbursement for taxes they had only paid once.

During the trial, the defense team admitted to wrongdoing on their client’s part, but on a much lesser scale than what was alleged by prosecutors, dpa reported. Prosecutors had sought a nine-year prison term; the potential maximum sentence was 15 years.

The verdict can be appealed. Another cum-ex case against Berger is ongoing at the state court in Wiesbaden.

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