Macquarie's CEO is likely to be a 'person of interest' in German share-trading investigation

Nicholas Moore, chief executive officer of Macquarie Group. (Torsten Blackwood / Getty Images)
  • Macquarie said up to 30 senior staff are likely to be questioned by German authorities as part of a share-trading probe.
  • CEO Nicholas Moore and incoming chief Shemara Wikramanayake are expected to be included as “persons of interest or suspects”.
  • Macquarie has denied wrongdoing and said it will cooperate fully with German investigators.

Macquarie Bank CEO Nicholas Moore has been implicated in a financial investigation by German authorities.

The inquiry concerns a complex dividend trading scheme that is currently the subject of civil litigation.

In a statement to the ASX this morning, Macquarie said the Cologne Prosecutor’s Office is expected to speak with at least 30 senior staff members involved in the deal.

The statement specified that Moore, along with incoming CEO Shemara Wikramanayake, are likely to be included as a “persons of interests or suspects” in the case.

The ongoing legal battle in Germany relates to a group of investment funds that Macquarie lent money to in 2011.

The funds were trading shares around dividend payment dates in order to “obtain the benefit of dividend withholding tax credits”, Macquarie said.

The credit claims were then refused by German tax authorities.

In addition to the investigation by the German prosecutors, Macquarie said it’s also the subject of a civil claim for its involvement in the deal.

Two investors have already sued the Swiss bank who introduced them to the investing arrangement. And earlier this year, a claim of 30 million euros was made against Macquarie, on behalf of those investors plus additional plaintiffs.

Macquarie said it “strongly disputes this claim, noting that it did not arrange, advise or otherwise engage with the investors, who were high net-worth individuals with their own advisers”.

In today’s statement, the bank said it would cooperate fully with German authorities.

“Macquarie notes that it has already resolved its two other matters involving German dividend trading that took place between 2006 and 2009,” the statement said.

A short time ago, Macquarie shares were down 0.7% in afternoon trade at around $126.80.

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