• Switzerland edition
 
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
Updated: 03 Sep 2012 08:47 GMT+02:00

The sale and purchase of CDs listing the details of Germans suspected of stashing assets in Swiss banks to avoid taxes should be made illegal, Germany's justice minister told a newspaper on Saturday.

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.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Armadillo and crocodile meat seized at border
"Bush meat" seized by customs agents. Photo: Federal Customs Administration

Armadillo and crocodile meat seized at border

A Frenchman living in Switzerland was caught entering the country from France with unusual contraband in his suitcase: 16 kilograms of meat from exotic species native to the African jungle. READ () »

UN health agency hits back at vaccine foes
WHO headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Yann Forget

UN health agency hits back at vaccine foes

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) hit back on Wednesday against vaccine deniers who claim that immunization is pointless, risky and that the body is better off fighting disease unaided. READ () »

More protection sought for Lavaux vineyards
Photo: Malcolm Curtis/The Local

More protection sought for Lavaux vineyards

Voters in the canton of Vaud are set to go to the polls for a third time next month to decide on the future of Lavaux, the celebrated vineyard region east of Lausanne. READ () »

Zurich Insurance study warns of cyber risks
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Zurich Insurance study warns of cyber risks

Organizations must dramatically improve their response to cyber risks to avoid a new global shock on the scale of the financial crisis that rocked the world in 2008, a study from a Swiss-based insurer concludes. READ () »

Zurich inaugurates city's giant quartzite plaza
Image: Raumgleiter

Zurich inaugurates city's giant quartzite plaza

The city of Zurich inaugurated the largest plaza in Switzerland on Tuesday night after a 17.2-million-franc ($19.5-million) facelift. READ () »

Geneva minister revives cable car project
Urban cable cars in the French city of Grenoble. Photo: Bastille-Grenoble.com (DR)

Geneva minister revives cable car project

Cable cars — just like those used to carry skiers up mountain slopes — have re-emerged as a public transportation option in Geneva, where authorities are struggling to deal with road congestion. READ () »

Police chief casts doubt on Swiss cup final future
Stade de Suisse. Photo: Martin Abegglen

Police chief casts doubt on Swiss cup final future

The final of the Swiss football cup may no longer be held in Bern after a police chief expressed his exasperation at clashes in the streets surrounding Monday’s final at the Stade de Suisse. READ () »

Swiss drink more homegrown wine
Consumption of Swiss wines within Switzerland rose by 10 percent in 2013. Photo; Caroline Bishop

Swiss drink more homegrown wine

After several years of decline, the Swiss are finally drinking more of their own wine. Consumption of Swiss wines within Switzerland rose by ten percent in 2013 to 107 million litres, according to figures released by the Federal Office of Agriculture (OFAG) on Tuesday. READ () »

Crime proves a cash cow for Swiss authorities
In 2013, Swiss authorities received 31.5 million francs. Photo: Marcel Grieder

Crime proves a cash cow for Swiss authorities

Seized cash from the proceeds of crime in Switzerland benefited the federal and cantonal authorities to the tune of 31.5 million francs ($35.6m) in 2013. READ () »

Pharma giants strike $16bn health-care deal
GSK and Novartis will create a joint consumer healthcare business. Photo: e-Magine Art

Pharma giants strike $16bn health-care deal

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis and British firm GlaxoSmithKline have announced a major restructuring of their health-care divisions in a multi-billion-dollar deal. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Bern finds solution for Erasmus student exchange programme
National
Bern zoo faces animal cruelty charges over bear cub deaths
Society
Swiss alpine ski champion announces same-sex marriage
Features
Former industrial zone transforms into Zurich’s trendiest spot
Tech
Swiss Solar Impulse team shows off new fuel-free aircraft
International
Suspect in Liechtenstein bank CEO murder case 'likely dead'
Sponsored Article
Caveman comedy comes to Zurich in English
Society
Innovative building provides refuge for hypersensitive tenants
Tech
VIDEO: Teenage boy sends Swiss army knife into stratosphere
International
Switzerland ranks second in world for social progress: report
National
Pharrell Williams set to perform in first Montreux jazzfest concert
Sport
American wingsuit flyer dies after Bernese Oberland accident
Advertisement:
Business & Money
H&M plans hefty Swiss minimum wage for employees by 2015
International
Caterpillar accused by US senator of dodging taxes through 'Swiss plan'
International
Geneva man in Facebook page fight with Italian carmaker Ferrari
International
Schumacher’s wife pays for 'medical suite' at Swiss family mansion
International
Aborted Swiss airlines take-off injures four at London airport
International
Swiss refuse asylum request from topless protest group founder
Business & Money
British expat former banker to head Swiss finance regulator FINMA
National
Swiss honey contains harmful plastic: TV consumer affairs report
Business & Money
Luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe threatens Geneva exit over taxes
Business & Money
World's largest watch fair opens in Basel amid uncertain times
International
'Fergie' credits hikes around Verbier mountains for recent weight loss
Etoiles de Montagne
Sponsored Article
How to summer holiday up a Swiss mountain
Swissbenefits
Sponsored Article
How to avoid Switzerland’s tax haven trap
International
Switzerland's residents are the happiest in the OECD: report
Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

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

2,045
jobs available