Credit Suisse targeted in German tax evasion raids
AFP · 18 Apr 2013, 12:53
Published: 18 Apr 2013 12:53 GMT+02:00
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More than 200 raids on homes of suspected tax cheats were conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, the German news agency DPA reported, citing prosecutors in the western city of Koblenz.
Employees of Credit Suisse and its Clariden Leu and Neue Aargauer Bank subsidiaries were also probed for aiding tax fraud, according to the prosecutors.
The raids follow the purchase of a CD containing 40,000 data sets on suspected tax-dodgers in Swiss banks.
Authorities in the southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate announced Tuesday they had bought the data for four million euros ($5.3 million) and hope to recover tax revenues worth 500 million euros nationwide.
Credit Suisse said it has been urging its German clients to settle their tax situation.
"We've been telling our German clients to settle their tax situation and if there is a problem, to solve it," said a Credit Suisse spokesman.
Germans were long among the top clients for Swiss banks, but following increasing pressure from German tax authorities a number of Swiss banks are apparently shifting their strategy.
Earlier this month the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger reported that Credit Suisse and Julius Bär banks sent their German clients letters demanding they submit proof their accounts were declared to German tax authorities or have them closed.
A mooted tax deal between the two countries would have resolved the situation by having Switzerland's notoriously secretive banks paying a tax rate of 26.4 percent on German holdings.
However the deal was blocked by Germany's upper house — the Bundesrat — for failing to go far enough against tax dodgers.
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.
German authorities have previously purchased such CDs, a practice an association representing German taxpayers charges amounts to shady deals with criminals who are offering the data.
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.