More banks in crosshairs as Denmark’s tax probe is set to grow

Denmark is trying to find out just how many banks were involved in suspicious stock trades executed for the sole purpose of getting a tax rebate. The transactions in question started more than a decade ago, after Denmark and Switzerland made it possible to claim back taxes on dividends through a revised double-taxation accord between the two countries.

At Nordea they say they have learned from the past and are now training all employes in the banks code of conduct. | Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

Nordea Bank has already been implicated in the trades, and Denmark’s parliament recently discussed whether to take measures against the lender. The bank has said it operated within the letter of the law, but that it wouldn’t conduct such transactions today. It’s also made clear it’s cooperating with the authorities. Denmark "will of course look into this," Business Minister Rasmus Jarlov told Bloomberg.

"The crucial point is to find out whether people operated within standard rules for double taxation treaties or whether there’s a clear case of trying to get dividend taxes refunded, even if such taxes were never even paid in the first place," Jarlov said. "There’s a very big difference between those two situations."

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