Mild penalties for Maple Bank executives demanded
fAlfred Dierlamm emphasizes right at the beginning of his final motion that a criminal defense attorney agreeing to the public prosecutor’s plea is extremely rare. As for the appreciation of Andreas H.’s educational work as “central, extraordinary importance” for the highly complex criminal proceedings surrounding the cum-ex transactions of the maple bank As far as he was concerned, he could only “unreservedly agree” with the Attorney General’s Office, said the criminal defense lawyer on Monday in the jury courtroom of the Frankfurt Regional Court. The prosecutors had demanded a suspended sentence for H., a former executive at Maple Bank, mainly because of his active support in the investigation.
H. and three other ex-bankers have to answer for serious tax evasion. The Treasury suffered damage of 366.5 million euros: The accused face up to ten years in prison. Three weeks ago, the lawyer for Wolfgang Schuck, the former head of Maple Bank Germany, had demanded a mild sentence for her client. On Monday, the other criminal defense lawyers held their pleas.
“Anyone who clarifies and cooperates with the investigative authorities in this way assumes responsibility,” Dierlamm said to the 24th Criminal Chamber. If the accused then shows insight and reflection, it seems legitimate that the full severity of the law should not be applied – “but a strong reduction in sentence”. Although the case law of the Federal Court of Justice provides for a prison sentence for tax offenses of more than 1 million euros, H. can count on a clear decree in the context of the sentencing. From 2017 onwards, he revealed to the investigators the structures of Maple Bank’s cum-ex trading, which operated the share group transactions with the help of its national companies in Great Britain and Italy. H. held out his line during the 57 days of the main hearing.
Such night-time behavior “without a net and a double bottom” must pay off, explains Dierlamm and refers to the first cum-ex judgment of March 2020: At that time, the Bonn Regional Court sentenced two British stock exchange traders to suspended sentences for damage that was also in the three-digit million range. Dierlamm hopes that the Frankfurt criminal justice system will send a similar signal to those who want to investigate: “You can take this step, it’s not to your disadvantage.”
Million payment to insolvency administrator
In addition, the criminal court read a recently concluded settlement between H. and the insolvency administrator of Maple Bank: Andreas H. paid 1.35 million euros into the insolvency estate; in the years from 2006 to 2010 he had received 54.4 million euros in bonuses and profit sharing.
As the comparison shows, Maple Bank paid out €451 million in wages and bonuses to its directors and officers during that period. The co-defendant, former head of Maple Bank’s European trading business, Paul H., has already paid 4 million euros into the bankruptcy estate. The public prosecutor’s office still demanded five years and nine months for the American. His defense lawyers point to a confession in the process, which should have a mitigating effect. A verdict is expected in the coming weeks.