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Tax evasion

Ex-UBS banker charged for selling data to Germany

The Swiss authorities have charged a former UBS banker over suspicion of selling confidential client details to Germany in 2012, the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday.

The suspect was charged at the end of July with qualified industrial espionage, breach of trade secrecy, violation of banking secrecy, money laundering and unauthorised possession of ammunition, a federal prosecutor’s office spokeswoman said. The defendant’s name was withheld.

The Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger reported the indictment earlier on Tuesday.

The allegations centre on the sale of a CD in 2012 containing details of UBS customers to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The CD related to assets worth CHF3.5 billion ($3.6 billion).

The attorney general’s office filed the charges with the Federal Criminal Court, Reuters reported. A court spokeswoman confirmed receipt of the case but declined further comment. UBS also declined to comment.

In the past few years there have been various cases of secret Swiss bank data saved to CDs that were subsequently sold or given to various countries by whistleblowers. The most infamous case is the HSBC Geneva private bank records that were given to French authorities and passed on to other countries by then French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde.

UBS is one of several Swiss banks that got caught up in European investigations into personal tax evasion. It paid almost $300 million in 2014 to settle claims it helped wealthy Germans dodge taxes.

Last month it was reported that North Rhine-Westphalia had shared details of Swiss bank accounts it managed to obtain from an anonymous source. Citizens of seven European countries are concerned. 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 in funds.

In parallel, some 100,000 tax dodgers have come forward in Gemany as a result of the data getting into the hands of the authorities.

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swissifnfo.ch with agencies


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