Germans use Swiss bank data for new tax raids
Hundreds of German tax inspectors launched nationwide raids on Tuesday, based on 40,000 data sets on suspected tax-dodgers in Swiss banks from a CD authorities had bought for €4 million ($5.3 million), officials said.
The latest mass search was based on data described as "authentic and of excellent quality" by the state premier of southwestern Rhineland-Palatinate, Carsten Kuehl.
"Based on the available information, we expect to recover tax revenues worth €500 million nationwide," he said.
The purchase of such CDs by German authorities from unnamed sources is controversial, but the minister said authorities had to "use any method deemed permissible after careful checks of the legal situation."
The disk contains information on more than 10,000 customers of various Swiss financial institutions, news website Spiegel Online reported, citing unnamed investigation sources.
About 400 tax inspectors and investigators took part in the raids on Tuesday, reportedly searching some 200 locations.
After similar such operations in the past, many German customers with Swiss bank accounts were urged to turn themselves in and pay taxes they had evaded.
An association representing German taxpayers has condemned the CD purchases, charging that German authorities are engaging in shady deals with criminals who are offering the data.
Germany has been at the forefront of a push against tax havens and offshore banking and took a tough line in the bail-out talks for debt-hit Cyprus, charging that Russian tycoons have used the island's banks to dodge taxes and launder dirty money.