• Germany's news in English

Liechtenstein bank owes tax dodger damages, court rules

DPA/The Local · 8 Feb 2010, 11:16

Published: 08 Feb 2010 11:16 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The case against LGT Treuhand, a former subsidiary of the LGT Group, was decided in January, according to a report in daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday.

The Bad Homberg real estate developer, who was exposed for tax evasion when a bank employee sold the data to the German intelligence service for €4.5 million two years ago, has been awarded €7.3 million by the Vaduz district court.

The tax fraud scandal that followed the sale of the data pointed to some of Germany’s top earners, among them former Deutsche Post boss Klaus Zumwinkel, who was convicted to two years probation and a hefty fine in January 2009. According to the paper, state prosecutors are still investigating up to half of the 845 cases involved.

The Liechtenstein court case has been closely watched by numerous other Germans who are also planning to sue the bank, the paper said.

They argue that if the bank had informed them that their data had been sold, they could have turned themselves in, receiving temporary amnesty and much lower fines.

Story continues below…

The bank subsidiary’s successor Fiduco Treuhand AG plans to appeal the case, the paper said.

Meanwhile a newly uncovered tax evasion scandal reached a new dimension last week, as German officials said more stolen data detailing up to 1,500 tax dodgers with funds stashed in Swiss accounts could mean some €400 million in unpaid taxes for state coffers.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

12:13 February 8, 2010 by Deutschguy
Bizarre court decision.

A tax evader is a criminal engaging in criminal behavior, knowingly.

He isn't entitled to anything as a result of exposing his criminal behavior. Except a fine and payment of taxes evaded. A little jail time wouldn't hurt either.

Lichtenstein and Switzerland need to be blacklisted and made illegal travel destinations, as long as their governments allow secret banking and the protection of criminal tax evaders from other countries.
12:48 February 8, 2010 by The-ex-pat
"A tax evader is a criminal engaging in criminal behaviour, knowingly."

SO IS BUYING STOLEN PROPERTY!. Where does it stop. Can the police illegally park to catch you speeding? what about breaking into your property when out to look for evidence of a crime? But I forgot, crimes in Germany have the following importance listing;

Tax evasion

Any other form of money crime

Insulting a neighbour

Then comes some unimportant stuff like;


Child rape


Prison time for the first list and a fine for the second!
13:24 February 8, 2010 by HIGNFY
In Germany, both Tax Evasion and Buying Stolen Property are criminal offences and I can understand the Govt. wanting to get it's hands in the info. For some strange reason however, in Switzerland, tax evasion is not considered a crime and that might be the reason for the courts decision.

There doesn't seem to be any hard and fast rules regarding what an tax offender might get in Germany, Steffi Graf's Father got jail and a huge fine, Klaus Zumwinkel only got a fine.

I guess it's down to who you know.

Oh, and one other henious crime which carries a long jail sentence: Downloading music!

So if you do it, make sure to murder somenone at the same time. It will half your pokey time.
13:25 February 8, 2010 by dbert4
Information relating to a crime that's been/being committed is, "property" which shouldn't be stolen? Sort of an "honor among thieves" scenario isn't it?

If I should have to pay taxes so should they, and to pay a "reward" to one supplying information related to crimes being committed... sounds right to me.
13:50 February 8, 2010 by tollermann
Hey what gives, I always thought Germans liked their level of taxation - pay for all those generous socialized programs!
19:43 February 8, 2010 by aceroni
You can't blame this court for trying to protect the only source of income for their nation, which is tax evasion and money laundering, but I would like to see the European states going there with tanks to stop these parasites and get back the money that belongs to all citizens.
21:12 February 8, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"They argue that if the bank had informed them that their data had been sold, they could have turned themselves in, receiving temporary amnesty and much lower fines."

One of the most novel legal arguments I've heard in my lifetime. It ranks right up there with the "Twinkie" murder defense for absurdity. (San Francisco -- Google it.)
05:00 February 9, 2010 by wood artist
In the US a company that loses personal data, such as someone hacking their credit card records, is obligated to notify the customers that their identification and personal information might have been compromised. Usually that includes some sort of offer to monitor their credit reports, etc. Card holders can then decide if they wish to replace their cards and such.

However, this is slightly different. Although personal information was "lost" due to some criminal activity, the account holder was suing because his illegal activity...dodging taxes...was revealed. He is correct that if the bank had told him, he might have been able to avoid some penalties, but it was his own illegal deeds that put him in danger in the first place.

I have no idea how the law is worded regarding the bank's obligation to tell him, but I have little sympathy for the guy. It's little different than a crook suing his partner because he ratted him out.

16:15 February 10, 2010 by mixxim
Do the Judges have their stash there too? What better way to ensure it is kept secret?
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd