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Germany buys data on suspected tax dodgers

The Local · 14 Jul 2012, 12:42

Published: 14 Jul 2012 12:42 GMT+02:00

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Tax authorities acquired a computer disc with data concerning around 1,000 German clients of the private Coutts Bank, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the report in the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD) said in its online edition.

According to the FTD, which reported the existence of the CD last November and which gave no source, the region's finance ministry had given the green light for the data to be acquired for €3.5 million euros.

The purchase could jeopardise a deal reached by Berlin and Bonn on double taxation last August that could net billions of euros for German tax coffers, the FTD said.

Instead, between €130 and €180 billion in German assets are hidden in Switzerland, German media reports claim.

The accord, which is currently undergoing ratification, is due to come into force in 2013 and formally forbids Germany from buying data stolen from Swiss banks in violation of the country's banking secrecy laws.

At the same time, the deal is running into opposition in German regions led by Social Democrats and Greens, who consider it too favourable to the fraudsters.

The accord has to be approved in Germany by both houses of parliament, the Bundestag lower house and the Bundesrat upper house. The government does not have a majority in the latter.

In 2010, German tax authorities recuperated €1.6 billion euros from tax dodgers after buying data on Germans with assets in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, according to media reports.

Story continues below…

Switzerland reacted angrily last March by issuing arrest warrants for three German tax inspectors on charges of economic espionage for purchasing a stolen CD naming German customers of Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second biggest bank.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:43 July 15, 2012 by Englishted
Unfortunately, this video is not available in Germany because it may contain music for which GEMA has not granted the respective music rights.

Or it does not matter if it was stolen because we are going to get money hypocrisy knows no bonds in Germany.
04:45 July 16, 2012 by pjnt

Sorry but copywrite laws are pretty much internationally recognized. Swiss banking practices are not.

The people selling this data are criminals. Germany purchasing this data is hunting tax evaders. It's not nice, but better than letting them go.

If Switzerland was not a global tax haven and played nice these issues would not exist.
11:56 July 18, 2012 by raandy
Buying and selling stolen data with out the permission of the owner is a crime.

That makes the German tax amt as criminal as the evaders.
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