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Deutsche Bank agrees to pay more than $500 million to settle a tax evasion case

Deutsche Bank

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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: German financial giant Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay more than half a billion dollars to settle a tax evasion case here in the U.S.

Marketplace's Stephen Beard is with us live from our bureau in London with the latest. Good morning Stephen.

STEPHEN BEARD: Hello Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: So so we're talking about clients here, which ones and when was this going on?

BEARD: They were clients of accounting firm KPMG and back in the 1990s, KPMG with Deutsche Bank helped sell these people illegal tax shelter schemes. KPMG has paid almost half a billion dollars in fines already for this. Now it's Deutsche Bank's turn.

CHIOTAKIS: What kind of scale are we talking here Stephen, how big a deal is this?

BEARD: Oh, huge. I mean -- Deutsche Bank had admitted involvement in at least 1,300 dodgy deals. It's reckoned that U.S. citizens as a result, if they did almost $600 billion in taxes. Most of that money has now been recovered from the tax payers concerned.

CHIOTAKIS: Does this settlement close the book on these tax evasion stories?

BEARD: I've been talking to somebody called Richard Murphy who runs an anti-tax evasion group here and he says we've probably seen the end of these really big blatantly unlawful schemes sold by big banks and accounting firms, and certainly Deutsche Bank is likely to keep it's nose clean for the foreseeable future.

RICHARD MURPHY: I think $553 million which I suspect is the biggest ever fine imposed with regards to tax case in the world is some significant measure of deterrence even for a bank as big as Deutsche Bank.

But he concedes, like death and taxes, some form of tax evasion is inevitable.

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace's Stephen Beard in London, thanks.

BEARD: OK Steve.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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