View Full Version : Money for Nothing from the USA

Saturday, October 18th, 2008, 10:24 AM
German cities and towns have profited for at least 10 years from complicated financing transactions known as "cross-border leasing" deals that involve the leasing of German assets by U.S. investors. City accountants in Germany have cashed in hundreds of millions of dollars for leasing their streetcars, purification plants, sewage systems, town halls, and school buildings. No one knows exactly how many millions American investors have paid. But since the spring of 2003, the complicated transactions have come under increasing public scrutiny of their legal and ethical implications.

Why cross-border leasing?
Imagine you are the city accountant, and instead of a nicely filled treasury you're staring into a black hole. That is the situation in nearly all German municipalities. The German economy has suffered three straight years of little or no growth, and as a result, the federal and state governments have shifted the burden to cities and towns. The local authorities' budgets are on the verge of collapse. Social services, youth welfare, and cultural activities are only some of the areas that have been short of funds for years now.

The tram system of Leipzig: 27 Million $ from American investors.

frontline: tax me if you can: uncovering schemes: money for nothing from the usa | PBS (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/tax/schemes/germany.html)