The German government and the state of Lower Saxony have bought a CD said to contain the bank data of 20,000 alleged tax cheats with assets hidden in Switzerland.
The state’s finance minister confirmed on Wednesday that €185,000 (SFr255,000) had been paid for the CD on Tuesday evening – half by the government, the rest by the country’s 16 states.
The data, which had already been analysed, would now be passed onto the relevant states and the due taxes imposed, said Hartmut Möllring.
He added that the data had provided tax income of €360,000 for Lower Saxony alone, estimating the national total “in the double-digit millions at least”.
Möllring said the question had been “do we turn a blind eye and let 20,000 potential tax cheats go, or do we take action?” He and federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble decided the answer was to take action.
In a similar case in another state in February, North Rhine-Westphalia bought a CD for €2.5 million, of which the federal government paid half.
With word of the CD's existence making headlines in Germany, Baden-Württemberg said 1,302 people had reported their undeclared Swiss holdings.
Two years ago Germany bought information on taxpayers who had money hidden in banks located in Liechtenstein.
swissinfo.ch and agencies