One of Germany’s fallen business stars has gone on trial charged with tax-dodging in Liechtenstein. Klaus Zumwinkel, the former boss of Deutsche Post, is accused of spiriting funds into a secret trust, and failing to pay tax on the income. Zumwinkel admitted the charges in the hope of avoiding jail. He has now paid around a million euros in back-taxes, and is expected to get a suspended sentence and a fine after the two-day trial.
Many postal workers feel he is getting off lightly. “Other people have been jailed for less. I ask myself why he would do something like that? I am sure he made good money at Deutsche Post,” said one. Some outside the court in Cologne accused Zumwinkel of closing post offices and cutting services at home, while stashing money abroad. His arrest, covered live on television last February, sparked a wave of investigations into secret foreign bank accounts. The German government bought computer records from an insider at Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank; Berlin shared the data worldwide, leading to tax evasion inquiries on three continents, including in the United States.