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Minister wants to ban stolen tax-dodger details

The Local · 1 Sep 2012, 14:23

Published: 01 Sep 2012 14:23 GMT+02:00

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The minister supported the idea from a Free Democratic Party colleague from the state of Hesse for a law to outlaw the use stolen tax data being bought and used officials.

"The purchase takes us into a very problematic grey area, not only ethically and morally, but also legally," Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said.

"I support my Hesse colleague Jörg Uwe Hahn who wants to bring in a new law against the handling of stolen data,” she said. Hahn has said he would like to see authorities brought to book for receiving and using the information.

"Someone who copies data onto a blank CD unbeknown to his employer is indisputably guilty of theft," said Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said there was no alternative to a tax agreement being negotiated between Germany and Switzerland. Under the terms of the deal, Germans who had evaded tax by putting money into banks in the Alpine country would - instead of being prosecuted - have only to pay moderate retroactive taxes.

She also hit out at state governments partly led by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) for putting the brakes on any such deal. "With the agreement we wanted to create a legal basis on which to fight tax evasion," Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said.

However, SPD-led states did not appear easily to convince on the issue. Schleswig Holstein State Premier Torsten Albig said he believed such purchases were entirely legitimate.

"I am in favour of buying all the CDs we can that can get hold of, and using them," said Albig. "It would bring in a lot of money for the treasury."

Earlier this week, a Swiss banker suspected of selling to the German authorities was arrested in Zurich, and fired from his job at the bank Julius Bär.

The finance ministry in the western German state of North-Rhine Westphalia (NRW) has bought a number of discs including details of German citizens who place money in Swiss banks to avoid paying tax.

Story continues below…

Dusseldorf tax expert Thomas Koblenzer has now brought a case against NRW Finance Minister Norbert Walter-Borjans, accusing him of breaking data protection laws in using the information.

DAPD/The Local/rc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:36 September 1, 2012 by lucksi
Interesting. Firstly they get a court to rule that buying stolen data is legal and now that the check cleared from their donators, they want a new law outlawing thier previous practise.
15:44 September 1, 2012 by smart2012
All of this is sold in Germany like if the Swiss are the bad guys. We forget that Germans (rich) are the ones who brought money there to avoid taxes. And I have to pay being a normal employee...
18:32 September 1, 2012 by mos101392
"Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger has said she backs calls to stop regional authorities from buying stolen information about tax evasion from Switzerland"

Thank God someone has half a brain and can see how unethical it is to buy stolen property. I am curious to know if every single name on those discs are tax evaders. Because, if there is a single name on those discs that did not commit a crime, then the prosecuters who bought the discs themselves committed a crime.

When you put your money in a bank, you expect a certain amount of privacy and you put your trust in that bank. If that trust is lost, everyone loses and those banks lose customers and those customers simply look to put their money somewhere else, ie Cayman Islands or Bank of Scottland.
16:11 September 2, 2012 by Eric1
Money belongs to the person who EARNS it. Those who envy the wealthy want government to confiscate more and more from those who earn and give it to those that don't. Without the incentive to work and build wealth society cannot survive. Wealth envy will drive us all into poverty.
16:32 September 2, 2012 by Englishted
Rearrange the following :

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