Page last updated at 16:19 GMT, Friday, 7 November 2008

Former Deutsche Post boss charged

Klaus Zumwinkel (left) with his lawyer
Klaus Zumwinkel (left) has been charged with tax evasion

Klaus Zumwinkel, the former head of Deutsche Post, has been charged in connection with an investigation into tax evasion, officials confirmed.

He is the highest-profile suspect in an investigation of alleged tax evasion by Germans citizens using banks in neighbouring Liechtenstein.

Last year, the OECD added Liechtenstein to its blacklist of unco-operative tax havens.

Deutsche Post is the privatised company that runs the German postal service.

The prosecutor's office in Bochum, Germany confirmed media reports that Mr Zumwinkel had been charged but declined to offer details of the charges.

Mr Zumwinkel allegedly avoided paying 1.2m euros ($1.5m; 974,000) in taxes on investment profits of 2.5m euros which had been earned in Liechtenstein, according to a report in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. Mr Zumwinkel resigned from his position earlier this year after an investigation against him was opened.

Evasion investigations

The scandal came to light in February after the German authorities reportedly paid 5m euros to a former employee of a Liechtenstein bank for a CD with names of hundreds of account-holders there.

This prompted countries around the world to launch their own investigations, as well as international criticism of Liechtenstein for its tradition of banking secrecy.

In July, prosecutors said they had already recovered 110m euros in back taxes.

At that time, they said 350 cases were under investigation and authorities were weighing investigations against another 420 people.



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