State checks more bank accounts than ever

State checks more bank accounts than ever
Photo: DPA
German authorities are inspecting bank accounts more often than ever, figures from the finance ministry showed on Friday.

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In 2013, finance authorities recorded 142,000 personal bank account checks. This is twice as many as in 2012.

The trend appeared, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said, to have continued into 2014, with 48,000 checks listed in the first quarter of the year.

German authorities have had the power to request information on bank accounts of people receiving social welfare money since 2005 – a move brought in in an attempt to dissuade people cheating the benefits system.

Names, birthdays, addresses and account numbers of bank customers are all available to the government, but a person's bank balance is not.

The finance ministry has also added bailiffs onto the list of people who can place requests for information from banks when faced with uncooperative debtors.

If a person refuses to disclose their assets when asked, they could find themselves having to hand over their bank account details, Detlef Hüermann, head of the German bailiff association told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

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