Germany tips off on tax evasion cases
GERMAN officials have passed more than 100,000 details of bank accounts suspected of involvement in tax evasion to their colleagues across Europe.
Authorities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia said they have given access to three separate troves of data from a Swiss bank and a Luxemburg one to their European counterparts.
The move was “an important message to tax cheats: more and more hiding places for your unreported money are being discovered”, regional finance minister Norbert Walter-Borjans said.
The biggest package of data stemmed from a hard drive sent by an anonymous whistleblower to tax inspectors in the western state.
The hard drive contained details of almost 160,000 accounts held in a Luxemburg bank by citizens of 20 European nations including Germany, the statement said.
The second of the three archives, passed on by French tax authorities, “supplements previously delivered data” stemming from information leaked by former HSBC employee Herve Falciani.
The IT worker's disclosures unleashed the so-called “Swissleaks” scandal on bank-backed tax evasion, and allegedly indicated HSBC's Swiss private banking arm helped more than 120,000 clients hide 180.6 billion euros (US$205.4 billion) from tax authorities from November 2006 to March 2007.
The third “package” contains information about the operations of an unnamed large bank “that can give European financial authorities clues about possible complicity in evading tax”. –
Norbert Walter-Borjans says it is a warning to tax cheats.