A 53-year-old former Fortis banker has been arrested in Aerdenhout on suspicion of fraud involving dividend tax.
The man, named by the Dutch press as Frank Vogel, is suspected of involvement in dividend stripping and is the first arrest made in three major investigations into the practice involving European crime agency Eurojust as well as the authorities in Germany and Finland.
Vogel is thought to have defrauded the Dutch tax office of over €4 million and his home, office and the office of his tax advisor have also been searched, the Dutch public prosecution department said.
Dividend stripping is based on dividend payments made by companies and traders using what is known as cum-ex and cum-cum transactions.
With cum-ex, dividends that have not even been paid are creamed off, or dividend tax is reclaimed multiple times when it has only been paid once. Cum-cum occurs when a shareholder has paid dividend tax, but is not entitled to a refund and so trades that ‘right’ with another party who can claim a refund.
The public prosecution department said in a statement it sees dividend stripping as a “serious form of white collar crime”.
Calculations by a team of tax experts at the University of Mannheim in 2021 suggest at least €150 billion has been stolen from taxpayers worldwide, of which €27 billion was at the expense of the Dutch tax office.
The investigations currently underway in the Netherlands are also looking at whether foreign pension funds are meeting the Dutch requirements to reclaim dividend tax, the public prosecution department said.
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