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State premier: Buying tax cheat CDs is legal

The Local · 20 Aug 2012, 08:04

Published: 20 Aug 2012 08:04 GMT+02:00

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"Purchasing such data is legal. That has been decided by the highest legal authority. Therefore we will continue to buy such data," Hannelore Kraft told mass circulation Bild in an article to appear in Monday's edition.

The data purchased recently indicated that Swiss banks were offering clients tips on how to transfer cash away from Switzerland to Asia before a planned tax deal between the two countries comes into force, said Kraft, according to Bild.

The two neighbours have been embroiled in a spat over tax since 2010 when German authorities raided branches of Credit Suisse bank in 13 German cities after buying data on suspected tax frauds.

Switzerland reacted angrily, saying the data were stolen in violation of its banking secrecy laws. As much as €180 billion ($222 billion) in German assets are hidden in Switzerland, according to unconfirmed media reports.

A tax deal between the two countries, aimed at ending such disputes, is to take effect in January 2013 but still needs to be ratified by both parliaments.

The double taxation agreement, signed by ministers earlier this year, would see German citizens with assets parked in Switzerland's notoriously secretive banks paying a tax rate of 26.4 percent on these holdings.

But opposition lawmakers in the German upper house, the Bundesrat, have threatened to block the deal.

Kraft, from the opposition Social Democrats, reiterated this opposition in her Bild interview.

Story continues below…

"We are not against a tax deal in principle. We are against this tax deal," she said.

"It's a fundamental question of equality. When this deal comes into force, German tax cheats would remain anonymous, pay less than honest taxpayers and get their unreported income laundered," added Kraft.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:26 August 20, 2012 by tumanskaya
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
09:36 August 20, 2012 by raandy
Employees of some Swiss banks make copies of clients bank accounts, because someone will pay big money .The act of doing so is illegal in most countries. The Swiss say it is illegal in their's.

Germany becomes the enabler of this crime.The deed is seen by the German Gov. as perfectly legitimate obtained data.

This is the "What Ever it Takes" defense to bring these tax doggers to justice.

Iam dubious about this practice and it's defense.

When the people in power, lie, cheat and steal ,this sends the wrong message.
09:42 August 20, 2012 by pepsionice
Generally, when you get past twenty percent on your taxes....most Germans just don't buy into the deal. The politicians and media haven't come to grasp this part of the story. It'd also shock people to find out that the middle-class has gotten deeply into tax evasion. Your local plumber who offers to do a job for cash only (no paperwork), your roofer who offers to repair your roof on a Saturday for cash, etc. They are all amassing a hidden pot of money in the basement of their house and drive over to Luxembourg or Switzerland once or twice a year to deposit their money.

As for the future of tax evasion? It's getting better and better. Forget about Switzerland in the future....there will be dozens of options within the next decade. Even the Russians might get into the safe banking scheme.
12:17 August 20, 2012 by yourkeau

Intelligence (BND, CIA, KBG etc) is used by all countries. Yes, this is illegal, but who cares? Israeli intelligence Mossad used to kill some Nazi war criminals abroad, and this was also "illegal". Do you think that because someone runs away abroad, the justice should not apply to him?

I don't think so personally. If the Swiss don't want Germans to buy CDs, they have two options:

1. Improve security in their banks to make these things impossible;

2. Sign taxation agreement with the EU.

They chose the second option.
12:21 August 20, 2012 by Eastard
I'm not much for paying taxes but the Swiss have a long history of intentionally helping the rich hide money to their benefit. In doing this deliberately they have little resource when exposed... There will always be someone else to fill the need even if they get caught.... The German government is smart to back this up as legal.. The Swiss should come up with a way to mask this even from their own... I'm sure the Asians will..
13:12 August 20, 2012 by NEUEVILLA
Yet another case of laws which apply to everyone except Germany. During my last tour in Germany, after five years, I received a letter stating that I was residing illegally in the country. I am British and assumed that Germany was part of the EU, Guaranteeing right of residence in any EU country. I was also informed by the police that my British driving license, European model was not valid in Germany. , I remember the case of Germany causing an English market trader to be imprisoned for selling his potatoes by the imperial pound (454 Gram). I note that BMW, VW, etc. are still selling cars with 15 inch wheels. My last British car (Austin/Rover) had 381 mm wheels.
13:56 August 20, 2012 by TheWonderer
Of course the state has to act!

If the state gets to know of a crime (here: tax-fraught) and does nothing to investigate, the state is committing a crime, too!

Besides, it would give the wrong sign - money can buy justice etc.

Therefore, in the interest of a working system, EVERYBODY has to pay his share - without refraining from doing so. Even more so as you cannot spend that much on eating and drinking anyway...

Some millionaires are responsible towards society and they do pay taxes - others do not care - that is the scandal, not the state chasing the offenders!

I always wonder why there would (of course!) be acceptance if murder, manslaughter, rape or child-porn would be the crimes, but when tax-evasion is the subject, it is always regarded by most readers as a "little offence" or petty crime only.

Tax evasion is to the detriment of our society - and only if really everybody pays his share, this society can work.

By the way: Maybe the are not selling them as 15 inches but 15 Zoll...? In contrast to pounds, every customer knows what he gets...

14:16 August 20, 2012 by NEUEVILLA
Re Wonderer

For your information "Zoll" is German inch, which is a British measurement in use since Tudor times. What is your definition of "Zoll"?

In England every one knows what they are getting for a pound weight. This is not true for the German commonly used expression "Pfund" or half kilogram.
15:35 August 20, 2012 by zeddriver

I take it by your first sentence that you are a fan of Stasi tactics.

I too hope that tax cheats are caught. But for a government to resort to illegal tactics to enforce laws. Even worse is that the German government is putting the word out that they will pay you money if you steal confidential data on their behalf. While at the same time threaten me with jail time if I break the law. Do you not see the oxymoron here? And then. Where does it stop. Should the government be allowed to break any law it sees fit for the purpose of enforcing another. And if the government does not have to follow the law. Why should I.
16:37 August 20, 2012 by Englishted
So handling stolen goods is not a crime in Germany .

Yet if I try to bring cigarettes (after paying tax ) into Germany from another cheaper E.U. country thats illegal ,work that one out and come back to me.
15:38 August 21, 2012 by cheeba
If Hannelore Kraft insists it is legal for her government to support the mafia's that traffic in this stolen information, then how about for me?

What is a businessman from Dusseldorf owes me 100,000 euro's and is not paying up?

Should I be able to pay a mafia to steal his private banking information so I can find his money in Switzerland and sue him for it?
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