UPDATE 1-Financial watchdog closes German unit of Canada's Maple Financial

Sun Feb 7, 2016 5:33pm EST
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(Adds Maple Bank comments)

FRANKFURT Feb 7 (Reuters) - German financial watchdog Bafin on Sunday closed the German operations of Canada's Maple Financial on impending financial over-indebtedness related to tax evasion investigations.

In September, German prosecutors searched offices and residences linked to Maple Bank in a probe of serious tax evasion and money laundering connected to so called dividend stripping trades.

The trades involve buying a stock just before losing rights to a dividend, then selling it, taking advantage of a now-closed legal loophole that allowed both buyer and seller to reclaim capital gains tax.

Bafin said in a statement that once Maple Bank made some necessary tax provisions, over-indebtedness loomed.

Maple Bank said in a separate statement that the requested tax provisions are connected to the ongoing investigations into dividend stripping trades carried out between in 2006 to 2010.

A Maple Bank spokeswoman declined to comment on the amount of the necessary provisions.

German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Sunday that Frankfurt prosecutors allege that Maple Bank and its business partners have bilked the taxpayer of some 450 million euros.

The bank has an equity capital of just 300 million euros.   Continued...