German authorities raid ABN Amro offices in Frankfurt: company

FILE PHOTO: ABN AMRO logo is seen at the headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Law enforcement officials in Germany raided the Frankfurt offices of ABN Amro ABNd.AS on Tuesday, seeking information in connection with a broader investigation into dividend stripping, the bank said.

A spokesman for ABN said it was cooperating with the authorities and that German officials had also contacted its head office in Amsterdam for information, but had not raided it. German officials declined to comment

Dividend stripping, known as cum-ex, typically involves cross-border trading of company shares around a syndicate of banks, investors and hedge funds to create the impression of numerous owners, each of whom was entitled to a tax rebate.

The raid at ABN is part of a wider investigation in which numerous banks and investors are being scrutinized for their role in the sham trading, which took place for several years until 2012.

The practice hit several countries across Europe, including Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Austria. Tax authorities in Denmark said they lost around $2 billion, while Germany estimates it was tricked out of more than 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion).

ABN Amro last year said former entities had been directly and indirectly involved in cum-ex transactions, but that its exposure to the scandal was limited.

Reporting by Toby Sterling and Bart Meijer; Editing by Louise Heavens and Jan Harvey