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Tax evasion German state shares Swiss bank details

Cooperation from Swiss authorities will prove tough as banking secrecy laws prevent recognition of stolen data

(Keystone)

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has shared details of Swiss bank accounts it managed to obtain from an anonymous source. Citizens of seven European countries are concerned. 

The information was sent to state authorities anonymously on a hard drive through the post and contains three bundles of data. One bundle concerns foundations and shell companies with Swiss banks, and affects seven countries. Another bundle deals with around 160,000 accounts in Luxembourg banks. And the third bundle concerns internal documents of a “large European bank” that could potentially point European authorities to financial fraud. 

“Financial justice does not stop at the borders,” said the state’s finance minister Nobert Walter-Borjans on Friday. “We will use every opportunity to collaborate with the authorities of our European neighbours. 

This is not the first time North Rhine-Westphalia has exchanged “suspicious” banking information. In April, it gave 27 European countries stolen bank records of Swiss accounts containing more than CHF100 million ($102 million) in funds. 

The stolen data shared in April was purchased by the state authorities some years ago and had already netted some €600 million ($663 million) in fines and penalties. Among the banks fined were UBS (€300 million), Credit Suisse (€150 million) and Julius Baer (€50 million). In addition, some 100,000 tax dodgers had come forward as a result of the data getting into the hands of the authorities.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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