The kiosk on the street corner could be anywhere in Germany, except that it sells Moët & Chandon champagne alongside the tabloid newspaper, Bild, and Marlboro cigarettes. Here, in Frankfurt’s upmarket WestEnd neighborhood, is where the German arm of Maple Bank is based.
It’s a long time since there have been any celebrations here. The bank, which has its roots in Canada, became bankrupt after it was forced to set money aside to pay back taxes, a move which would have increased its debt significantly. Those taxes involved millions of euros being demanded by the German treasury due to its use of controversial tax avoidance schemes known as dividend-stripping deals, which are likely to be deemed illegal.
The bank’s insolvency has had more serious financial consequences for creditors than previously feared. A spokesperson for the insolvency court told Handelsblatt that 236 creditors have registered claims totaling €3.3 billion, or $3.68 billion.
This would make the case one of the biggest insolvencies ever in the German banking sector.