Interpol alert for New Zealand banker wanted by Germany

AP Business

BERLIN (AP) — Interpol on Tuesday issued a global alert for a New Zealand banker wanted by Germany in connection with a massive tax fraud scheme.

The agency based in Lyon, France, posted a ‘red notice’ on its website seeking information on the whereabouts of 53-year-old Paul Robert Mora, who is suspected of facilitating and concealing fraudulent transactions worth more than 113 million euros ($137 million).

Mora is alleged to have acted on behalf of an investor while he worked at a large bank between 2006 and 2008.

Frankfurt prosecutors, who are handling the investigation, said Mora has “many contacts abroad, including in New Zealand, Great Britain, Switzerland, Australia and Spain.”

The case against Mora is part of a broader investigation into so-called cum-ex transactions where participants would lend each other shares to collect reimbursement for taxes they hadn’t paid.

European countries are estimated to have lost tens of billions of euros from those and similar transactions over the years, until a bank whistleblower alerted the media and forced authorities to clamp down on the practice.

The trial against Mora and other suspects before a court in Wiesbaden, Germany, is due to begin March 25. It was repeatedly postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A related trial in Bonn last year resulted in suspended sentences for two British bankers after they agreed to provide detailed information about the fraud scheme.

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