March 18, 2020 / 6:56 PM / 14 days ago

British bankers receive suspended jail term in German fraud trial

BONN/FRANKFURT, March 18 (Reuters) - Two British bankers were handed a suspended jail sentence on Wednesday for their part in Germany’s biggest post-war fraud, a scam that involved scores of banks and investors engineering multi-billion-euro trades to make bogus tax reclaims.

The ruling is the first criminal conviction for what judge Roland Zickler dubbed “a collective case of thievery from state coffers”, activity that thrived during the years after the financial crash and as banks were bailed out by the state.

German state prosecutor Anne Brorhilker had outlined criminal charges against Martin Shields and fellow British banker Nicholas Diable, who she said organised a network of traders and lenders to make double tax reclaims with sham share trades.

Brorhilker outlined more than 30 instances of double-tax reclaims totalling 447 million euros ($485.98 million).

“I have made mistakes,” Shields told the court during the trial. “I have learned my lesson.”

Diable told judges that his wedding, honeymoon, career and birth of his children had been overshadowed by the investigation, expressing regret that he had taken part in the so-called “cum-ex” scheme. ($1 = 0.9198 euros) (Reporting By Matthias Inverardi and John O’Donnell. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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