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Clarification ‘Swiss spy’ case to be formally examined

Parliamentary Control Committees are charged with reviewing and examining the conduct of Swiss cabinet, administration and other bodies.

(Keystone)

A parliamentary oversight body will investigate the activities of the Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) in relation to the recent arrest of an alleged Swiss spy in Germany.

The Parliamentary Control Committeeexternal link announced Tuesday that it will examine the suspect’s status as a possible source of the FIS, and his alleged involvement in spying on German authorities’ pursuit of tax evaders.

The 54-year-old suspect, a Swiss private investigator and former Zurich police officer known as Daniel M., was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany on April 8. Daniel M. was believed to have been instructed by the FIS to spy on tax inspectors in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, who were attempting to identify tax cheats by collecting data on German clients of Swiss banks.

The committee also aims to find out how the FIS communicated with current finance minister Ueli Maurer, who was head of the defence ministry at the time, and how Maurer himself exercised his oversight of the FIS and in turn informed the cabinet.

It’s a case that has caused tension between Switzerland and Germany, particularly in the absence of concrete answers as to the exact sequence of events. Two weeks ago, the Swiss government confirmed that justice authorities asked the FIS in 2011 to help with a case of stolen banking data that had been sold to Germany, and that the activities ended in 2014, but further details have been hard to come by.

The committee said it would define more clearly its investigation and a timetable at its next meeting.

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swissinfo.ch and agencies/cl

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