Can a banker be a millionaire

According to his own account, the German investor had no idea what it was all about. The man from Hanover told the Düsseldorf investigators that he was not a financial professional. But only a very good seller of insurance, home loan and savings contracts and other investments. He has never speculated in stocks, and when it comes to company investments, he doesn't even read the contracts. His employees marked the pages on which he should sign, Maschmeyer said. People, communication, motivation, that is his strength. Eric Sarasin knows him very differently. Maschmeyer is one of the most experienced investors in Germany, wrote Sarasin's Cologne lawyer Björn Gercke to the local prosecutor. It is "completely far from life" that the money expert, because of a good acquaintance with a banker, is putting so many millions of euros in funds without getting detailed information and without putting this financial product to the acid test. Maschmeyer knew that he was taking risks. He described the Swiss banks as boring and asked Eric Sarasin if he didn't even have "something really cool". This is what it says in a brief with which attorney Gercke defends his client Sarasin at the public prosecutor's office.

Veronica Ferres was also worried

What the bank from Basel was offering was really cool. Up to twelve percent profit at a time when normal investments did not generate much more than an inflation adjustment. Maschmeyer invested his own money as well as the assets of others and was surprised afterwards when the third and last fund did not bring any profits but remained in the red. Veronica Ferres, the woman at Maschmeyer's side, began to worry too. The actress is said to have approached Eric Sarasin about the funds at the 2011 Champions League finals in Rome and 2012 in Munich.

While a drama took place downstairs in the Munich arena when FC Bayern missed the title in their own stadium, the Swiss private banker allegedly assured his prominent client from Germany that she shouldn't worry. It is not so bad if the money comes later, it would be a few percent more. This is how Maschmeyer described it to the LKA. Little by little he claims to have found out what kind of stock deals the funds brokered by Sarasin would have operated. It is said that when trading papers with (cum) and without (ex) dividends, a capital gains tax that has only been paid once can be reimbursed several times. But at some point the tax authorities saw through this game and paid nothing more. The state money flow dried up, the funds were suddenly left on dry land. And with them investors like Maschmeyer. He felt cheated, filed a criminal complaint and assured the LKA that he had no idea about the bad game at the expense of the tax authorities.

The investigators asked Maschmeyer whether he would describe himself as a tax layperson. The entrepreneur replied that his tax advisor would smile in agreement. After that, the investor got serious again and asserted that he would never have got into the fund if he had known that it was a "hot box". He did not want to damage his image with controversial tax tricks, said Maschmeyer. He had even brought electronically stored documents with him to keep track of everything. The files were transferred from a laptop to a USB stick of the LKA.

The largest procedure for cum-ex deals

The criminal suspects more than 30 bankers, fund operators and tax attorneys to have formed a "gang" and to have defrauded the tax authorities and capital investors like Maschmeyer. It is the largest procedure for cum-ex deals, in which the German state and its citizens are said to have been relieved by a total of more than ten billion euros. Also from Eric Sarasin? He rejects that. Through his lawyer, he explained that the allegations against him were false, that the stock transactions were legal in the opinion of leading lawyers, and that Maschmeyer had been informed about the risks by the bank. The investor from Hanover even wanted a confirmation from the Basel institute in mid-2012 that he would receive the shares from the expected tax refunds as soon as the money was there. All of this is in the brief from Sarasin's lawyer Gercke. His submission to the Cologne public prosecutor's office culminates in the remark that Maschmeyer is far from having an impeccable reputation.

Warmest greetings from Maschmeyer: As a friend, he hopes "that the matter does not escalate"

At the beginning of 2013, the Swiss private banker sent "dear Carsten" best regards and wished him, his Veronica and the whole family "all the best, health and success in the new year". Carsten had previously written to "Dear Eric", "Hopefully you and your loved ones had a nice Christmas and a Happy New Year". But then Maschmeyer got straight to the point. "For the new year, I wish us that 13 brings good luck." May the problem with the fund promises not being kept be cured. "As before, I hope, as your friend, that the matter does not escalate... Sincerely yours, Carsten."

Nothing was healed back then, now it is settled, on both sides. At his testimony, Maschmeyer expressed the assumption that bankers and fund operators had stuffed their pockets full of commissions in the tens of millions at the expense of investors. Now, unlike in the past, nobody understands fun anymore. A few years ago, Sarasin assured Maschmeyer in a text message that there was still a twelve percent return and promised to ensure "that these sums... Come back." Carsten should write down two dates for himself and Veronica that give cause for celebration. "As always with me and then to the Italian by ship !!! Cordially, Eric". Maschmeyer agreed. And added that a Sarasin employee was talking about a 25 percent return. "In solidarity - your Carsten." Sarasin responded promptly. "Sure, sorry, wanted to bag half for me."