Basel private bank raided in German tax probe
Police in Switzerland have raided the offices of the private bank Safra Sarasin as part of a probe by German authorities into alleged tax fraud, Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported on Friday.
Contacted by AFP, Safra Sarasin declined to comment on the grounds that an investigation was ongoing.
Tages Anzeiger said that the offices of the upscale bank were searched on Thursday, in seven different Swiss cantons.
German justice authorities reportedly suspect three dozen wealthy individuals of having illegally raked in 462 million euros ($584 million).
The probe, being steered by prosecutors in the western German city of Cologne, centres on so-called "cum-ex" share deals.
Such complex operations involve a trio of shareholders, and enable them to receive a tax reimbursement twice even though they have paid taxes on the deal just once.
The suspects have reportedly told German investigators that Safra Sarasin had for years recommended that they invest in funds that use such a system.
Tages Anzeiger also said that raids took place on Thursday at the offices of a German law firm in the Swiss city of Zurich, as well as in the ski resort of Zuoz.
In total, 20 separate locations were searched by dozens of police and justice officials.
Safra Sarasin, which caters to rich clients seeking to invest their fortune, is based in the northern Swiss city of Basel, on the border with Germany and France.
Founded in 1841, it was known simply as Sarasin until it was bought in 2011 by the Brazilian group Safra.