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Germany

Former Deutsche Post Boss Admits Tax Evasion

Klaus Zumwinkel, ex-CEO of German logistics giant Deutsche Post confessed Thursday he failed to disclose nearly one million euros from an inherited Liechtenstein trust to German tax authorities.

Former Deutsche Post chief Klaus Zumwinkel with nameplate in front

Zumwinkel (left) is accused of concealing taxable income

Former Deutsche Post chief executive Klaus Zumwinkel confessed in a Bochum court on Thursday, Jan. 22, that he evaded 966,000 euros ($1.2 million) in taxes related to inherited funds he had hidden in the Alpine principality of Liechtenstein.

German tax authorities had accused Zumwinkel, 65, of concealing the money in trust funds managed by the LTG Bank in Liechtenstein.

He was detained in February 2008 after prosecutors obtained evidence from Germany's BND foreign intelligence service on trusts administered by the bank on behalf of wealthy tax-evading Europeans.

Released on bail after a search of his villa, Zumwinkel resigned shortly afterwards as head of Deutsche Post, one of the world's leading logistics companies with a global workforce of more 350,000.

Later, he stepped down from positions on the boards of other leading German companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Lufthansa and retailer Arcandor.

Prosectors say Zumwinkel set up a trust for himself in Liechtenstein in 1986 but failed to disclose earnings and dividends from it to German tax authorities, as required by law.

If convicted he could face jail and a hefty fine. Unconfirmed reports ahead of the trial said Zumwinkel would enter a plea of guilty in return for a reduced sentence. The verdict is expected on Monday.

Zumwinkel was one of hundreds of wealthy Germans exposed when a Liechtenstein bank employee betrayed them by selling a stolen DVD with details of their accounts to the BND for about 5 million euros.

Since then, German prosecutors have recovered more than 150 million euros in arrears from repentant taxpayers hoping to ward off trials.

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