Swiss banker Eric Sarasin settles German tax probe

ZURICH (Reuters) - The former deputy chief executive officer of Swiss private bank J. Safra Sarasin BKSNF.PK will pay a "low six-figure amount" to have a German tax-fraud investigation against him closed, his spokesman said on Thursday.

Eric Sarasin resigned from the bank in October 2014 to leave himself free to defend himself in the investigation led by German prosecutors into alleged “cum/ex” dividend stock trading products that could be used to help clients benefit taxwise.

The bank has said it never set up or distributed such products and Eric Sarasin has also denied that he was involved in such a scheme.

Eric Sarasin’s spokesman, Joerg Denzler, said on Thursday that the Cologne prosecutor has now agreed to close the case under the terms of a German law whereby a payment to the authorities in “appropriate cases” leads to the termination of an investigation without indictment.

“Eric Sarasin will pay a low six-figure amount. This payment does not represent a fine, nor does it imply any admission of guilt,” Denzler said in a statement.

Sarasin was investigated for allegedly being an accessory to tax evasion and commercial fraud.

Denzler told Reuters the amount is more than 100,000 euros ($109,000) and less than 300,000 euros.

In 2014 Swiss authorities searched as part of the German investigation the offices of Bank J. Safra Sarasin, which was taken over by Brazilian-Swiss private bank Safra in 2011.

“Today’s happy conclusion ends a phase that put a huge burden on me and my personal environment,” Eric Sarasin said in the statement. “With regard to my future professional life, I will review my options in the coming weeks and months.”

Prosecutors in Cologne declined to confirm that the case had been closed on Thursday.

Reporting by John Miller in Zurich, Matthias Inverardi in Duesseldorf; Editing by Greg Mahlich