Morning Briefing Global Edition

The Land of Bilk and Money

milk and honey
Foreign companies had some inside help bilking German tax authorities.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • My Handelsblatt Morning Briefing Global Edition gives you an overview of the most important news from Germany and Europe – in a concise two-minute read.
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  • Facts

    Facts

    • Germany’s Finance Ministry has proposed lowering the maximum guaranteed interest rate for life insurance from 1.25 to 0.9 percent.
    • Commerzbank apparently played an active role in helping foreign investors exploit a tax loophole that artificially lowered German tax payments by around €1 billion annually.
    • Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin payment system in 2008.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Today Indiana goes to the polls for its presidential primary. Things are looking good for frontrunners Clinton and Trump – with Mr. Humble predicting: “If we win Indiana, it’s over.” And it probably is.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz – aware of his long odds – played down a possible loss. He seemed to quiet his own fears, saying a defeat would still leave him with a chance at the Republican nomination in July. It wasn’t long ago he was calling the Hoosier State a must-win.

Cruz knows how to play the crowd. George W. Bush once said it best: “Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called ‘walking.’”

 

Bigger than life U.S. asset managers Blackrock and Vanguard are the lords of capitalism. They think in trillions, not billions. And – with help from banks and financial engineering – know how to hustle an annual €1 billion out of German tax authorities. It’s called “dividend stripping.”

Data obtained by New York-based ProPublica, analyzed by Handelsblatt, German television broadcaster ARD and The Washington Post, unearthed how the deals worked. And it turns out Germany’s No. 2 bank Commerzbank – bailed out with €18.2 billion in taxpayer funds – was one of the biggest marketers of the loophole.

 

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