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Deutsche Post chief suspected of tax-evasion

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — Deutsche Post Chief Executive Klaus Zumwinkel is under investigation for suspected evasion of some euro1 million ($1.45 million) in taxes through investments in Liechtenstein, prosecutors said Thursday after questioning the executive.

As part of this investigation today many premises were searched, among them the private residence of the suspect, Dr. Klaus Zumwinkel, said Bernd Bieniossek, a spokesman for Bochum prosecutors, who are leading the investigation.

Zumwinkel is suspected of evading about euro1 million ($1.45 million) in taxes via investments in Liechtenstein, he said.

The 64-year-old left his Cologne home accompanied by police after authorities searched the residence and his office.

Zumwinkel got into one of two unmarked silver Mercedes police cars and drove off without making any comment. His attorney at the scene also declined to answer questions.

Zumwinkel was taken in for questioning to the Bochum prosecutors’ office and after providing information and paying an undisclosed amount of surety, was released to go home, Bieniossek said.

Deutsche Post said in a terse statement later Thursday that the entire management board, including its chairman, Dr. Zumwinkel, is functioning fully and is conducting its business as usual.

It said that Zumwinkel discussed the accusations against him in detail with the authorities concerned.

Zumwinkel has led Deutsche Post since 1990. He is also the chairman of Deutsche Telekom AG’s supervisory board, which is the equivalent of a board of directors, and of the supervisory board of Postbank AG.

In addition, he sits on the airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s supervisory board, and is on U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley’s board of directors.

Zumwinkel was named manager of the year by Germany’s Manager Magazin in 2003.

Deutsche Post delivers mail in Germany and is a major worldwide player in the express delivery and logistical services business through its DHL unit. It’s also the majority owner of Deutsche Postbank, which engages in retail banking and financial services.

The German government owns a majority stake in Deutsche Post, but the Economy Ministry refused to comment on the investigation, saying it was up to prosecutors to make any statements.

However, an economic policy spokesman for the center-left Social Democrats, who are part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition, said if Zumwinkel is found to be guilty, he should not hold his job for one minute longer.

It is beyond comprehension that a multimillionaire like Zumwinkel found it necessary to save a couple of million euros in this way, Rainer Wend told Der Spiegel magazine’s online edition.

Deutsche Post shares were up 2.9 percent in late Frankfurt trading to euro22.27 ($32.46).
Deutsche Post chief suspected of tax-evasion – found here.

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February 14, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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