Switzerland seeks arrest of German tax collectors

2012-03-31 22:15

Berlin - Switzerland has issued arrest warrants for three German civil servants it has accused of industrial espionage by purchasing the bank details of German tax evaders, the finance ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state said on Saturday.

In the latest chapter of an ugly dispute over tax evasion that has strained ties between Germany and its southern neighbour, a spokeswoman for the NRW finance ministry confirmed a report about the warrants due to appear in Sunday's Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

The tax collectors could be arrested if they cross the border into Switzerland, the newspaper said.

"There is a concrete suspicion that specific orders from Germany were issued to use espionage to obtain information from Credit Suisse," the Swiss attorney general said in a statement. "The attorney general has asked German authorities for assistance."

Hannelore Kraft, state premier of Germany's most populous region, told Bild am Sonntag she was appalled by the warrants.

"It's an outrage," said Kraft, who is seeking re-election in a vote on May 13. "The NRW tax investigators were simply doing their job tracking down German tax dodgers who stashed undeclared money in Swiss banks."

Several German states, including NRW, said in 2010 they had bought compact discs containing Swiss bank data from whistleblowers as part of a drive to flush out tax evaders. That prompted thousands of Germans to declare their financial holdings to avoid risking jail terms.

The federal government gave state authorities the go-ahead to buy the information even if it was obtained illegally. Germans have an estimated 150 billion Swiss francs ($200 billion) hidden in secret Swiss accounts.

Germany and Switzerland were working to salvage a landmark deal to tax secret offshore accounts at the weekend after Germany's main opposition party raised 11th hour objections to a compromise plan it said was full of loopholes. Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition needs the backing of SPD-controlled states to push the tax deal through the Bundesrat upper house, but so far SPD state premiers have said concessions offered by Switzerland do not go far enough.

The pact that would protect Switzerland's tradition of banking secrecy in return for a punitive Swiss-levied tax on German-held accounts.

Switzerland's strict bank secrecy code has helped it build a $2 trillion offshore financial sector, but it has faced growing international pressure in recent years as foreign governments seek to claw back tax revenues and be seen as being tough on the super rich in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  germany
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.