Monday, February 08, 2010

How safe is your data in a Swiss bank?

Taxes 06.02.2010,,5220904,00.html

Germany steps up hunt for tax evaders

Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Germany is to pay 2.5 million euros for the Swiss bank data

German tax investigators are reportedly in France for negotiations with an informant to buy stolen Swiss bank data on 1,500 alleged tax evaders. The move comes amid reports of a fresh offer of data on tax cheats.

German magazine Focus reported on Saturday that tax authorities would acquire the controversial data on the weekend in France.

Quoting sources close to the investigation, the Munich-based magazine said the unnamed informant had insisted on a secret meeting in a neighboring country for fear of being arrested in Germany.

Germany is to pay a reported 2.5 million euros ($3.4 million) for the stolen data on 1,500 German clients of a Swiss bank. Reports say the data could potentially yield at least 400 million euros in tax revenues.

The decision to buy the illegally-obtained information has divided the German government and strained relations with Switzerland.

On Saturday, Germany's Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaueble said Switzerland's fabled banking secrecy laws were outdated and needed to be dismantled.

"Bank secrecy cannot be an instrument in the 21st century used to evade taxes," Schaueble told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

"There's no future for bank secrecy. It's finished. Its time has run out."

The decision by Germany to pay for the stolen data has sparked anger in Switzerland. Politicians in the country say Berlin's willingness to buy stolen data raises worrying ethical questions.

Two more German states offered data

Meanwhile, a new set of data with details of alleged tax evaders has reportedly been offered to German authorities in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the southern state of Bavaria.

On Friday, Bertram Dornheim, a spokesman for the state's Finance Ministry, which was contacted by the informant offering the new data, could not confirm how many Swiss accounts were involved, nor whether the informant had asked for a fee for the information.

But he did say that the informant had supplied authorities with samples of data on potential tax cheats last year and had now "supplied additional, substantial quantities of data."

He added that the "potentially very interesting" information was currently being examined.

The Frankfurter Rundschau daily reported that the new disk contained information on around 2,000 German investors holding accounts in Switzerland. The newspaper reported that many of the accounts were with Swiss lenders UBS and Credit Suisse.


Whistleblower asking for 2.5 million Euros (Video)

Position of the Swiss Bankers Association SBA on the purchase of stolen data by Germany on 2 February 2010

No comments: