German prosecutors say raiding 13 Credit Suisse branches
German prosecutors said on Wednesday they were raiding 13 branches of the Swiss bank Credit Suisse in connection with a probe into tax fraud.
The prosecutor's office in Dusseldorf, western Germany, said that about 150 investigators took part in searches as part of an investigation into allegations that bank staff assisted clients to evade taxes.
German officials in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia purchased a CD in February that reportedly contained information on more than 1,000 wealthy Germans who could be concerned by the investigation.
Those with accounts at Credit Suisse have been urged to come forward of their own accord to avoid prosecution.
Swiss authorities have complained about the acquisition, and the affair has provoked diplomatic tension with Germany, which is determined to recover tax revenue from accounts in neighbouring countries that might shield funds.
German press reports have said the state paid 2.5 million euros (3.2 million dollars) for the CD.
In 2008, a similar deal netted a long list of names and bank accounts in the principality of Liechtenstein which let officials recover around 200 million euros in unpaid taxes and led to the arrest of the head of the logistics group Deutsche Post.
The saga put Liechtenstein and other tax havens including Switzerland in the firing line of international efforts against offshore banking havens and tax dodgers.
© 2010 AFP