• Switzerland's news in English
 
German minister wants to ban sale of Swiss data
Photo: Thore Siebrands

German minister wants to ban sale of Swiss data

Published: 03 Sep 2012 08:47 GMT+02:00

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the Liberal party (FDP), told the Rheinische Post that buying the data was currently a grey area legally but amounted to theft.

"Buying this data is a murky and highly problematic area both ethically and morally speaking but also judicially," she said.

"Someone who copies data onto a blank CD unbeknown to his employer is indisputably guilty of theft."

The German region of North Rhine-Westphalia declared earlier this month that it would continue to buy the data, considering it a useful way of helping trace fraud.

"Purchasing such data is legal. That has been decided by the highest legal authority. Therefore we will continue to buy such data," Hannelore Kraft told the Bild newspaper.

The data purchased recently indicated that Swiss banks were offering clients tips on how to transfer cash away from Switzerland to Asia before a planned tax deal between the two countries comes into force, said Kraft, according to Bild.

The two neighbours have been embroiled in a spat over tax since 2010 when German authorities raided branches of Credit Suisse bank in 13 German cities after buying data on suspected tax frauds.

Switzerland reacted angrily, saying the data were stolen in violation of its banking secrecy laws. As much as €180 billion ($222 billion) in German assets are hidden in Switzerland, according to unconfirmed media reports.

A tax deal between the two countries, aimed at ending such disputes, is to take effect in January 2013 but still needs to be ratified by both parliaments.

The double taxation agreement, signed by ministers earlier this year, would see German citizens with assets parked in Switzerland's notoriously secretive banks paying a tax rate of 26.4 per cent on these holdings.

But opposition lawmakers in the German upper house, the Bundesrat, have threatened to block the deal.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Checking out snow sport alternatives to skiing
Photo: Jungfrau Railways

Checking out snow sport alternatives to skiing

You don’t have to ski to enjoy Switzerland in the winter. From snowshoeing to ski-jöring, non-skiers have plenty of ways to amuse themselves in the colder months. The Local's Caroline Bishop runs down some of the options. READ  

First woman joins Swiss central bank board
Photo: Malcolm Curtis/The Local

First woman joins Swiss central bank board

The Swiss National Bank on Wednesday named IMF executive Andréa Maechler as its first ever female board member. READ  

Natural disaster losses fall in 2014: Swiss Re
Swiss Re headquarters in Zurich. Photo: Swiss Re

Natural disaster losses fall in 2014: Swiss Re

Extreme weather and other natural and man-made disasters caused $113 billion (90.6 billion euros) in economic losses in 2014, reinsurer Swiss Re said Wednesday. READ  

Geneva talks on Iran nuclear plan continue

World powers resumed negotiations in Geneva with Iran on Wednesday over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme, more than three weeks after they last met and gave themselves another seven months to conclude a deal. READ  

Cabinet ministers rapped for accepting new limos
Federal cabinet minister Doris Leuthard with new Tesla. Photo: DETEC/Twitter

Cabinet ministers rapped for accepting new limos

Critics are complaining that Swiss federal government ministers are getting early Christmas presents in the form of expensive new limousines as official cars at a time when the government is planning hefty budget cuts.
 READ  

Scalpers profit from sold-out AC/DC Zurich gig
AC/DC singer Brian Johnson (left) and group's co-founder Angus Young. Photo: AFP/File

Scalpers profit from sold-out AC/DC Zurich gig

Tickets for AC/DC, the veteran Australian hard rock band, sold out on Tuesday for a Zurich concert in six minutes but media reported tickets were being resold within an hour at five times the price. READ  

Woman gives birth at metro after taxi snub
Photo: CHUV

Woman gives birth at metro after taxi snub

A woman gave birth on Tuesday to a baby boy outside a Lausanne metro station after a taxi driver refused to take her and her husband to hospital for fear of messing up the interior of his car, according to a report. READ  

Tag Heuer chief changes tune on smartwatches
Tag Heuer's CEO Jean-Claude Biver: change of heart. Photo: Tag Heuer

Tag Heuer chief changes tune on smartwatches

Barely a few months after dismissing Apple's smartwatch, the new chief executive of luxury Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer conceded Tuesday that such a hi-tech gadget might after all have a place in his firm's line-up. READ  

Snow shortage worries Alpine ski resorts
Skiers at Zermatt, one of the resorts faring better because of its high altitude. Photo: Zermatt.ch

Snow shortage worries Alpine ski resorts

With a little over a week until Christmas the continued lack of snow at top Swiss and other European ski resorts has caused a flurry of worries ahead of the key holiday season. READ  

Schumacher tops Swiss internet search list
Schumacher: tops list of personalities sought through internet searches in Switzerland. Photo: DPA

Schumacher tops Swiss internet search list

The rehabilitation of former Formula One driving ace Michael Schumacher, severely disabled from a skiing accident a year ago, and the suicide of American comedian Robin Williams sparked the most internet searches in Switzerland for individuals in 2014, search engine Google said on Tuesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
International
Swiss chocolate café at centre of hostage-taking drama Down Under
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Features
Exploring the 'most beautiful village' in French-speaking Switzerland
Business & Money
Italian thieves steal 260 tons of Swiss Lindt & Sprüngli chocolate
National
World's longest train tunnel — under the Swiss Alps — set to open in 2016
National
Switzerland's Christmas market season gets into full swing
National
Porn film on video screen spices up fare at Swiss McDonald's restaurant
National
Masturbation scene in Swiss TV ad for Media Markt draws complaints
National
Cantonal lawmakers end 'happy hours' tippling in Vaud pubs and bars
Politics
Former concert pianist Sommaruga elected as next Swiss president
Culture
Jailed German art forger's paintings go on sale at Bern gallery
Business & Money
Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad's family listed as Switzerland's richest
Features
Long-time expats face dilemma: to be or not to be a Swiss citizen
National
Switzerland's voters massively reject strict immigration limits
Business & Money
Pieces of Napoleon's auctioned hair to be put in Geneva luxury watches
National
Activists petition federal government for ban on eating cats and dogs
National
Swiss meat firm faces scandal over alleged false labelling of products
Sport
Federer victory gives Switzerland its first Davis Cup tennis title
Business & Money
Italy's PM upset over Swiss mogul's acquittal in asbestos deaths
Business & Money
University of Zurich study finds 'banker's oath' could spur honesty
Sponsored Article
Exclusive offer: Try out home exchange
National
Swiss National Bank chief calls proposal to boost gold reserves 'fatal'
National
Mudslides kill four people in Ticino and neighbouring Italy
Culture
British X Factor star seeks internet support for Swiss Eurovision place
National
Court overturns ban by backing right for schoolgirl to wear scarf
National
Swiss ranking for English skills worsens among non-Anglo countries
Culture
Swiss model and French TV star Nabilla held for 'attempted murder'
Travel
Switzerland's Zermatt voted best ski resort in the Alps by skiers
Sport
VIDEO: FC Zurich claims crime after 'vicious' tackle hospitalizes player
Tech
Federal government announces new '.swiss' internet domain name
National
Zany emergency: Basel firefighters rescue ass stuck in manhole
Business & Money
American jury clears former UBS top executive of tax fraud
International
Switzerland ranks second to Norway in global 'prosperity' index
National
Financial regulator bans former Coop Bank CEO for three years
International
Switzerland slips in World Economic Forum's gender equality rankings
National
Job candidates unhappy with hiring process in Switzerland
National
Glacier 3000 opens new foot bridge spanning two mountains in Vaud
National
Swiss seek special Unesco heritage listing for yodelling and watchmaking
International
Switzerland regarded as best place in world for expats: global survey
National
Red faces at Migros over Hitler and Mussolini coffee cream pots
National
Quarter of workers in Switzerland 'stressed out': new survey
Travel
Lonely Planet ranks Zermatt among top places to visit in 2015
Features
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in Swiss monastery town
National
Expat American professor disputes 'unjust' Swiss citizenship rejection
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,079
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply