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GERMANY

German tax officers buy data on UBS clients

Authorities in the western German region of North Rhine-Westphalia have bought data on German clients of a Swiss bank suspected of tax evasion, media reports said Wednesday.

German tax officers buy data on UBS clients
Photo: Twicepic

The Financial Times Deutschland said two compact discs of data, including one on accounts at top Swiss bank UBS, were obtained while the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported four disks were purchased.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung cited an expert involved as saying the "extremely interesting" disks contained data on Germans trying to evade taxes at home
with the help of Swiss banks.

Another source told the Financial Times Deutschland that the stolen data from UBS was significant as it contained names as well updated advice on how
to evade German taxes through the use of foundations.

In addition it also acquired UBS training documents that show how it was active in aiding clients avoid paying taxes, it said.

North Rhine-Westphalia Finance Minister Norbert Walter-Borjahns declined to confirm any specific purchases to the newspapers, but said they regularly
receive offers of stolen Swiss bank data.

The region has previously bought stolen data, incurring the anger of the German federal and Swiss authorities, which want to ban the practice under a
new treaty that is still in the process of being ratified.

In 2010, German tax authorities recuperated 1.6 billion euros from tax dodgers after buying data on Germans with assets in Switzerland and
Liechtenstein, according to the press.

Switzerland reacted angrily last March by issuing arrest warrants for three German tax inspectors on charges of economic espionage for purchasing a stolen
CD naming German customers of Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second biggest bank.

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TRAVEL

Travel: Are neighbouring countries still open to Swiss tourists?

Borders between Switzerland and its neighbours are open. But given high coronavirus infection rates, border nations have tightened their entry requirements.

Travel: Are neighbouring countries still open to Swiss tourists?
Good old days in Paris. Photo by AFP

Yes, people from Switzerland can still to go to France, Germany, Italy and Austria, but it is not as easy as it was before the second wave of Covid-19 swept the entire region.

Of the four states bordering Switzerland, Austria is the easiest to enter.

For the time being, it does not restrict travellers from Switzerland. The borders remain open and no quarantine or Covid test is required for Swiss residents.

Like Austria, Italy has not to date implemented any access restrictions or quarantine requirements for Switzerland. The only condition set by the Italian authorities is that each person entering the country must complete a form declaring that they have not tested positive for Covid-19. Otherwise, it is necessary to observe a 14-day quarantine. 

However, before travelling south of the border keep in mind that Italian cinemas and theaters are closed, and restaurants must stop serving their customers at 6 pm. The authorities have also imposed a night curfew from 10 pm until 5 am.


READ MORE: How will lockdowns in France and Germany affect Swiss residents? 

 

France

Since October 30th, France has been in lockdown, which will last until at least December 1st. As such, travel on French territory is prohibited, except in well-defined cases — including trips to get to work, trips to buy essential goods, or trips for compelling family reasons — and on presentation of an ‘exit certificate’.

Germany

Unlike France, Germany has not implemented a new shutdown. However, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities like theaters and cinemas are closed until December.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said last week that the country's borders with its neighbours, including Switzerland, would remain open.

Gemany already placed Switzerland on its quarantine list on October 22nd, because Swiss Covid infection rates exceed those of its neighbour.

This means that anyone who enters from Switzerland must be tested on arrival in Germany. The tested person must then quarantine until the result comes through.

But the German state of Baden-Württemberg, which borders Switzerland, exempts Swiss arrivals from quarantine, under some conditions.

For example, those crossing the border from Switzerland to visit family and friends will be permitted to do so without quarantine, provided they do not stay longer than 48 hours. 

Baden-Württemberg's authorities are also allowing residents of Appenzell, Aargau, Basel, Basel-Country, Jura, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich to come to Germany without being tested, as long as they stay no longer than 24 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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