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Taxman rakes in hundreds of millions thanks to stolen bank data

The Local · 7 Apr 2010, 12:02

Published: 07 Apr 2010 12:02 GMT+02:00

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According to daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, some €626 million in back taxes have flowed into government coffers due to voluntary disclosure from offenders as authorities at the Bochum public prosecutor’s office probe a list of Liechtenstein bank data provided by an informant in February 2008.

The office has finished 244 of the 596 cases in the affair involving LGT Treuhand, a former subsidiary of the LGT Group – work which has garnered an additional €161 million, the paper said.

The tax fraud scandal that followed the sale of the bank data two years ago pointed to some of Germany’s top earners, among them former Deutsche Post boss Klaus Zumwinkel, who was sentenced to two years probation and a fine of €1 million in January 2009.

But in another case involving LGT Treuhand, a Bad Homburg business man won millions in damages in a suit against the bank for failing to reveal that his information was stolen along with hundreds of other account holders and sold to German authorities for a criminal investigation. He argued that if the bank had informed those on the list that their data had been sold, they could have turned themselves in, receiving temporary amnesty and much lower fines.

Bochum investigators told Süddeutsche Zeitung they plan to finish their cases regarding the Liechtenstein bank in the next year, meanwhile a more recent case of stolen Swiss data bought by the German government is expected to bring in significantly more hidden tax money.

Story continues below…

Tax officials report that some 13,000 people nationwide have turned themselves in for tax fraud following the government’s decision to buy stolen bank data on secret accounts at Swiss banks early this year, daily Rheinische Post reported on Wednesday.

According to the paper, these reports - which have come mainly from the states of Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg - could bring in more than €1 billion.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:27 April 7, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Governments have broken their own laws in order to get what they want from time immemorial. Nothing has changed.
13:38 April 7, 2010 by Legal E
Governments have again shown that they ignore the laws that they uphold when it suits them.

Shift your accounts to Hong Kong and see the reaction when the DE Government asks for data... All of a sudden they will not speak English in Hong Kong..
14:11 April 7, 2010 by Hebbellover
What Europeans try to hid money from the government...shame! I thought everyone loved their craddle to grave socialism? Someone has to pay for it!
17:15 April 7, 2010 by hanskarl
As I read this article and the comments strains of "Taxman" by the Beatles waft though my mind.
03:36 April 8, 2010 by Larry Thrash
Greedy socialist government.
10:27 April 8, 2010 by dbert4
Bravo! If I have to pay taxes, EVERYONE should have to pay taxes also.
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