And finally… reach for the stars

An investment banker at the centre of Germany’s biggest ever fraud trial has told judges he earned millions of euros from deals involving “astronomical” trades, Reuters reports.

Martin Shields, said the trading, known as cum-ex, was popular between 2005 and 2012, with investors from around the world making trades on German companies that allowed them to generate bogus tax reclaims.

Prosecutors say those who took part in the scheme misled the state into thinking a stock had multiple owners, each of whom was owed a dividend and a tax credit.

“The number of trades going through the market was astronomical,” Shields told the court.

He added: “Trades regularly exceeded 100 per cent of the [company’s] market capitalization.”

State prosecutor Anne Brorhilker detailed the criminal charges against Shields and fellow British banker Nicholas Diable earlier this month.