“Tall trees catch a lot of wind. Some judges have been looking for him for a long time. During the hearing in the sixth chamber of the Civil Court in Ghent, Ryder was represented by two tax law specialists. They say he is a victim of a court that has been abusing its power and has long been trying to reduce Lawyer wings.
According to Ryder's defense, the famous plaintiff has been living alone in Switzerland since 2005. They pointed to a copy of the deed to purchase building land in the Swiss mountains, his Swiss cars, and even his elevator expenses there.
But the FBI doesn't want to believe Ryder lives in Switzerland – a country that is much less popular than it was in the past, but still known for its low taxes. The Service objected to his declarations issued in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019. The FBI defaulted, among other things, on an insurance payment of 753,000 euros, declared in Switzerland.
It is unclear exactly how much money the FBI is requesting from Rader.
During the hearing, the BBI Department's lawyer referred, among other things, to a credit card from Rieder through which small purchases were made every day in Belgium. According to Rieder's camp, this card is used by loyal employees of Rieder's law firm “to buy sandwiches at Le Pain Quotidien, among other things.”
The BBI lawyer describes the burden of proving that Ryder lives in Switzerland as very weak. “He's registered there, but also in the Ghent and Bruges offices. Until recently he was even a deputy judge of the Court of Appeal in Ghent. So he's not very separated from Belgium yet.”
Ryder's lawyers responded that they never said he no longer advocates for or buys things in Belgium. “What's important is where he makes his money. That's Switzerland. They say he's a tax resident of that country. The FBI also sees the fact that Ryder's wife lives in Belgium as an indication that his ties to Switzerland are not very strong.”
“Hans Rieder does not live in Switzerland. He is only pretending,” said the BBI lawyer. “He goes there alone on holiday. All alleged evidence is his own. But what about his social life there? This doesn't really mean anything. Same thing with that alleged relationship. We don't think this proves anything. His Swiss chalet is just a vacation home.
Sentencing on March 6.
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