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Tax evasion German state targets more Swiss banks

Norbert Walter-Borjans is unrepentant about using stolen data

(Keystone)

The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia plans to use stolen banking data to target 30 to 40 more Swiss banks for helping tax cheats evade their obligations. Ongoing investigations have already netted the state some €600 million (CHF657 million) in fines and penalties.

North Rhine-Westphalia authorities have already fined UBS €300 million, Credit Suisse €150 million and Julius Baer €50 million. Some 100,000 individuals have also been spooked into owning up about their tax dodging, netting more funds in unpaid taxes and fines.

Asked in an interview with the WAZ.de news website to confirm that 30 to 40 more banks might be prosecuted, state Finance Minister Norbert Walter-Borjans said that “It is about that magnitude”.

He added that some banks have incorporated tax evasion into their business models to enrich themselves.

“From what we have seen, [some banks] have systematically offered a tax evasion service, which has made them a lot of money.”

But Walter-Borjans was unrepentant about buying stolen data as a basis to start investigations. He said that while the state was ready to accept such data, it drew the line at encouraging people to steal it.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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