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German region to pay for tax dodger data in Switzerland

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10:32 CET+01:00

Tax authorities in a western region in Germany are planning to buy data on German clients suspected of tax evasion in a Swiss bank, a report by the Financial Times Deutschland to be published on Thursday said.

Authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia are to buy a CD with data concerning around 1,000 German clients of the private Couts Bank, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

It will be the first time German authorities will buy data on suspected tax cheats since Berlin and Bern signed a deal on double taxation in August that will come into force in 2013 and could net billions of euros for German tax coffers.

The accord aims to close a dispute between the two neighbours that blew up into a major spat in 2010 when German authorities raided branches of Credit Suisse bank in 13 German cities after buying data on suspected tax dodgers.

Switzerland reacted angrily, saying the data -- bought for a reported €2.5 million -- was stolen in violation of its banking secrecy laws.

According to German media, between €130 and €180 billion in German assets are hidden in Switzerland.

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