18 Oct 2018 08:23

Comment to media reports about German tax structures

SEB has not offered or financed transactions in Germany for the purpose of recovering unpaid taxes, so-called Cum-ex transactions. We distance ourselves from that type of arrangement. This is what SEB says in a comment on Thursday's media data that the bank has contributed to funding of criminal tax evasion in Germany.

How does SEB view the allegations made?

We are serious about this. SEB has actively decided not to finance or participate in cum-ex structures, where the purpose is to recover tax that was not paid. We have done an in-depth review of our securities lending business in Germany and we have not found anything that indicate SEB has helped recovered unpaid taxes, which is the core of so-called cum-ex business.

In accordance with SEB's tax policy, we do not offer products or participate in structures, with the sole purpose of avoiding tax.

Is SEB subject to an investigation in Germany?

German tax authorities have initiated a review of banks' securities transactions during dividend periods for the years before January 2016, the year when legislation was amended.

SEB is one of the audited banks because the bank conducted securities trading in Germany. Our business was done in accordance with German legislation, regulations, market practices and in full transparency. SEB has no customer relations where the sole purpose is to avoid taxation.

Are there any criminal suspicions against SEB

No, no suspicions have been directed against SEB. As part of the German authorities' investigation, a visit to SEB’s office in Frankfurt in November 2016 was conducted. The reason for the visit was to gather information and documentation about other external actors. The prosecutor's office was clear that there was no suspicion against SEB. As SEB and all other banks are subject to bank secrecy, a court decision is required to share customer information. SEB has fully cooperated with the prosecutor's office to achieve full transparency.

Are there any suspicions related to former employees?

In July 2018, SEB was informed that a former executive of SEB in Germany is being investigated. No charges have been brought against the person, and SEB has requested transparency, but has not received any further information from the authorities in Germany. As there is an ongoing investigation, the executive is no longer working for the bank and no charges have been brought forward, we have seen no reason to communicate about this.

We take the information seriously and cooperate fully with the authorities in the ongoing investigation.