Prosecutors search Freshfields’ Frankfurt office in tax evasion probe

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Frankfurt office has been searched by prosecutors as part of an investigation into tax evasion.

The news of last week’s raid was first reported in German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

The office was searched in connection with an investigation being carried out by the city’s Public Prosecutors Office and relates to advice concerning a former client’s “cum-ex” transactions.

A Freshfields spokesperson said: “Freshfields is confident that the prosecutor’s review will reveal that our advice has been legally sound.”

A large number of banks are being investigated in Germany over “cum-ex” deals, or alleged tax-driven share transactions.

“Cum-ex” trading was prohibited in Germany in 2012, with the tax authorities probing deals before this date to see whether it counts as tax evasion.

Freshfields’ Frankfurt office consists of 43 partners and is the firm’s largest in the country. The firm has five offices in Germany in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich.

The magic circle firm closed its Cologne office at the end of 2015, with the bulk of the office’s 18 partners and around 60 associates moving to Düsseldorf.