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News : EU Economy Last Updated: Apr 24, 2009 - 5:31:05 PM

German government to share Liechtenstein's tax evasion data with other countries
By Finfacts Team
Feb 26, 2008 - 8:42:44 AM

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The German government said on Monday that it will provide tax authorities in other jurisdictions details of relevant clients from the DVD containing data on 1,400 clients of  Liechtenstein's LGT Bank, that it purchased from an ex-employee of the bank for €4.2 million. The bank's foreign clients are suspected of using the Alpine tax haven to evade tax in their own countries.

German Finance Ministry spokesman Thorsten Albig said if other nations will request for the data, it will willingly share it at no cost to the requesting country.

German daily Handelsblatt said Finland, Sweden and Norway are interested in acquiring a copy of the CD. Apparently other nationalities have started to initiate investigations of their own nationals' involvement in tax evasion cases.

The Irish Revenue Commissioners are reported to have plans to contact the German tax authorities to see if there are any Irish names on the list of suspected tax defrauders that Berlin bought from a whistleblower who worked in a Liechtenstein bank.

A spokesman for the Revenue told The Irish Times that they were aware of the list obtained by German intelligence.

He said Revenue was "following developments with interest". "We will be in touch with the German authorities," he added.

The UK reportedly paid €132,931 for a similar Liechtenstein listing of accounts held by 100 wealthy Britons.

The German magazine Der Spiegel reported that the DVD Germany purchased was also sold for almost  €5 million to US authorities. The ex-LGT bank employee is reported to have disclosed he was kidnapped in 1997 in Argentina. The 42-year old Heinrich Kieber, is reported to have been assisted by Germany to acquire a new identity and lead a lesser known and safer life.

In related news, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Antonio Maria Costa reminded Liechtenstein that it ratified the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crimes, which relates to anti money-laundering measures.

Costa added, "Tax havens should not be used to shelter the proceeds of crime." He urged Liechtenstein to ratify the UN Convention against Corruption.


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