Umsatzsteuer-Karussell

“Value-added tax carousel.” On 12 Dec 2012 there was a razzia at the Deutsche Bank in which 500 finance police searched its offices and employees’ apartments in several cities for evidence of German Umsatzsteuer tax fraud for CO2 pollution permits sold abroad. Again, the scheme seems to have been to pass the paper back and forth across borders until it was unclear whether the tax due in Germany had been paid, after which the bank printed receipts saying it had and asked the German I.R.S. to refund, in this case, the 19% V.A.T. for the supposedly foreign transaction. Süddeutsche Zeitung described it as the government’s advance payment of V.A.T. to dummy companies that never paid it back and then evaporated. Trade in CO2 pollution permits shot up between 2008 and 2010, and the German fiscus refunded billions of euros to such schemes, according to the Bundeskriminalamt.

The Frankfurt general district attorney, who has been investigating this since 2010, voiced concern that Deutsche Bank employees, among other things, did not report suspected money laundering as they were required to. Germany’s largest bank, DeuBa garnered at least 230 million euros via the scheme.

The first razzia looking for evidence in this carbon emissions trading carousel scheme was carried out in April 2010 (and an unknown person warned the bank the day before). In December 2011 a decision by the Frankfurt District Court [Landgericht] listed instances in which the Deutsche Bank apparently did not care to ask questions about its business partners. Journalist Klaus Ott described some of them in an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung dated 30 April 2012: “A business account for a furniture store that wants to engage in emissions trading? A business account for a company that doesn’t have any offices yet? A C.E.O. who doesn’t speak German but signs German-language bank papers with no prior translation? No problem! And what about the risk management documents of the company bringing in the new partner? The bank isn’t interested, even though it is well known that something stinks in this industry.” Spiegel-Online reported that in one case a ten-minute conversation sufficed to set up this million-euro deal. People behind the scheme appear to have been located in London.

Update on 20 Dec 2013: Europe’s carbon emissions market is merely ~100 billion euros, Süddeutsche.de wrote, but the continent’s “more vulnerable” “scarcely monitored”  electricity and gas market is about nine times as large. It looks like the carousel tax scheme has been used there too, by Germany’s third-largest utility company EnBW but they’re not the only ones. Europol said that “criminals” used the carousel to avoid ~5 billion euros in value-added taxes in the carbon emissions market, but that the tax fraud may have been correspondingly higher in the bigger market.

The alleged electricity trading carousel was set up quickly, growing very large very fast. At EnBW, for example, tax auditors either found or made an in-house note that in 2011 “tax-free sales increased from circa one billion euros to ten billion euros within one year.” Germany’s F.B.I., the Bundeskriminalamt, was quoted as saying setting up the scheme required specialist expertise and in fact looked rather “organized.”

Süddeutsche.de indicated they learned these details from internal confidential papers from e.g. tax auditors in Karlsruhe and a central corporate I.R.S.-type office in Stuttgart [Zentrales Konzernprüfungsamt Stuttgart]. Europol, German prosecutors from multiple cities and German tax officials from multiple states are said to be investigating.

(OOM zots SHTOY err   car OO! sell.)

Bundeskriminalamt, BKA

Federal-level German police. Like the Verfassungsschutz, the German police are managed in state and federal offices with some degree of mutual autonomy.

Thirteen suspects are under investigation by Germany’s Attorney General (Generalbundesanwalt) in the matter of the neonazi terror cell that murdered people of immigration backgrounds for more than 13 years without getting caught. The Berlin state police (Berlin Landeskriminalamt) are now in trouble after the investigating parliamentary committee discovered, last week, that one of these suspects, who supplied explosives to the neonazi terrorists, was a paid informant to the Berlin police. From 2001 to 2011. Berlin state interior minister Frank Henkel (CDU) found out about this in Feb. 2012 and informed Germany’s Attorney General about it in March 2012. But, says this Spiegel-Online article, the investigating committee in Berlin only found out about it last Thursday morning (13 Sept. 2012), and was informed not by the state of Berlin but by Germany’s Attorney General.

“Hardliner” law-and-order Berlin state senator, and Berlin interior minister in charge of the Berlin police, Frank Henkel (CDU) is now being asked by the SPD party to finally provide all relevant files or resign from government.

The Berlin police received at least five tips from the TNT-delivering V-man between 2001 and 2005 reporting hearsay about the location of the underground cell, but they didn’t forward the information to Thuringian Verfassungsschutz, which had been actively looking for the bank-robbing neonazi serial killers since 1998. Federal Verfassungsschutz even routinely investigated this informant for a security clearance once when he applied for a “sensitive job,” and gave him the clearance because the Berlin police hadn’t passed on the fact that he was their connected neonazi. Thuringian Verfassungsschutz apparently didn’t pass on much about him either. He won’t be charged for supplying explosives to the right-wing terror cell, due to the statute of limitations.

(BOON dess CREAM een oll omt.)

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