Deutsche Post Chief Investigated for Suspected Tax Evasion | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 14.02.2008
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Deutsche Post Chief Investigated for Suspected Tax Evasion

The chief executive officer of Deutsche Post, Europe's largest postal service, was picked up by police after prosecutors raided his office and house on charges of tax evasion.

Deutsche Post CEO Klaus Zumwinkel

Zumwinkel is credited with boosting Deutsche Post's fortunes -- but did he also help his own?

German police acting on suspicion of large-scale tax fraud mounted a dawn raid Thursday on the office and home of Klaus Zumwinkel, the head of the international logistics concern Deutsche Post.

Prosecutors said later that Zumwinkel, 64, was suspected of evading taxes amounting to around 1 million euros ($1.5 million) by means of deposits in foundations in the tax haven of Liechtenstein.

Zumwinkel is escorted from his home in Cologne

Zumwinkel is escorted from his home in Cologne

The chief executive was taken under police escort from his home in the upmarket Marienburg part of Cologne to the prosecutors office in the city of Bochum some five hours after the raids. Investigators also removed boxes from the house.

After Zumwinkel had posted security, an arrest warrant was lifted and he was allowed to leave.

The prosecutors office said further details on the case could not be divulged in order not to jeopardize the investigation. It added that other suspects were under investigation.

A Deutsche Post spokesman confirmed the search of Zumwinkel's office at Deutsche Post headquarters in Bonn.

National public broadcaster ZDF reported that the investigation concerned around 10 million euros deposited in Liechtenstein, a principality bordering Switzerland and Austria.

Miracle worker turned alleged fraudster

The Deutsche Post tower in Bonn

The Deutsche Post tower in Bonn

Zumwinkel is credited with turning the loss-making former state monopoly into a profitable private concern with a global reach and a staff of 520,000.

He also sits on the supervisory boards of Deutsche Post subsidiary Postbank and the former monopoly telecommunications provider Deutsche Telekom that was split from Deutsche Post in 1995.

Zumwinkel is the longest-serving chief executive among the 30 German companies that make up the leading DAX indicator on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

At the end of last year, he drew negative publicity when he sold shares in Deutsche Post for 4.7 million euros after the German parliament had passed imposed a minimum wage in the postal sector.

Deutsche Post's share had risen in anticipation that it would secure an advantage over new companies entering the market.

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