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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Frankel Admits to Tax Evasion in Germany

HAMBURG, Germany -- Martin Frankel, a high-living financier wanted in the United States for operating the country's biggest ever insurance fraud scheme, has confessed to charges of tax evasion before a German court in Hamburg.

"He made a full confession," court spokeswoman Sabine Westfalen said Friday.

Frankel, who was charged with failing to pay 10 million Deutsche marks ($4.9 million) of tax and duty on 547 diamonds he imported to Germany via Italy, was also accused of possessing nine passports when arrested in Hamburg last year after a worldwide manhunt.

Frankel, 45, faces 36 counts of fraud in the United States, which has been seeking to extradite him. He will enter a formal plea on the German charges next Wednesday and sentencing will follow next Friday.

It was not immediately clear what the effect of the confession and any subsequent sentence would be on the extradition process.

Frankel ran an unlicensed brokerage from his mansion in Connecticut, where he kept an entourage of bodyguards and young female assistants.

Investigators in the United States allege that Frankel, who was banned from securities trading in 1992 by the Securities and Exchange Commission, bought up small insurance firms and then stole freely from them, taking at least $200 million.

He is also accused of misappropriating hundreds of millions of dollars for a charity called the "Francis of Assisi Foundation," ostensibly collected to help hungry children.