'Cum-ex' defendant swindled Denmark out of $1 bln, prosecutor says
COPENHAGEN, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Sanjay Shah, a Briton charged with defrauding Danish tax authorities in a sham trading scheme, is suspected of pocketing as much as 7 billion Danish crowns ($1.14 billion), local media reported on Wednesday, citing indictment papers.
Danish prosecutors this month charged two British citizens - whom they did not name - with serious fraud after four years of investigations into so-called "cum-ex" trading schemes, in which the state has lost more than 12.7 billion crowns in all.
Shah is suspected of running a scheme that involved submitting thousands of applications to the Danish Treasury on behalf of investors and companies from around the world to receive dividend tax refunds worth more than 9 billion crowns.
According to the indictment, Shah made away with up to 80% of that money, or around 7 billion crowns, the news agency Ritzau reported.
The Danish Tax Agency has also launched civil cases to try to recoup the money it has lost. More than 3 billion crowns have already been seized, although the agency lost a civil case brought against Shah in Dubai.
Shah, who lives in Dubai, has previously denied any wrongdoing.
In an emailed statement on Wednesday, his spokesperson did not comment directly on the substance of the allegations, but argued that "Mr Shah has not been indicted" because Danish prosecutors had not followed appropriate protocol.
"Is the announcement of an indictment a last ditch attempt ... to recoup money that was paid out legally?" it added.
The statement also said Shah was willing to come to Denmark for a trial, but not to be "held for years in pretrial detention."
The prosecutor's office said all guidelines had been followed in relation to the charge.
If convicted, Shah could be jailed for up to 12 years.
The cum-ex trading scheme is also being investigated by authorities in Germany, Belgium and Britain. Last year, two Britons were convicted in Germany's biggest fraud trial for at least 75 years. ($1 = 6.1286 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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