Germany tries four for extortion over Liechtenstein disc
Germany, which paid an informant for a computer disc spirited out of Liechtenstein with the names of tax dodgers, is to prosecute four men for extortion over a similar disc.
27 February 2008
ROSTOCK, Germany - Germany, which paid an informant for a computer disc spirited out of Liechtenstein with the names of tax dodgers, is to prosecute four men for extortion over a similar disc.
German authorities have been circumspect about how many discs or informants exist, but prosecutors in the city of Rostock said the quartet would be indicted for extorting money from the Liechtensteinische Landesbank (LLB).
Banks in the tiny alpine principality have reportedly set up low- tax trusts used by rich people around the world. Liechtenstein claims it is not a tax haven.
The four men allegedly obtained 9 million euros from the LLB after threatening to send data on 2,325 LLB customers to interested revenue authorities.
The Rostock prosecutors insist the case has nothing to do with the inquiry against the tax dodgers, which is being led by a fraud squad from another German city, Bochum, and involves another Liechtenstein bank, LGT.
That tax inquiry has spread from Germany to Scandinavia, the United States, Australia, Italy and France. Germany paid 4.2 million euros for the names list. Britain says it has paid for a different list of suspects.
In the Liechtenstein capital Vaduz, prosecutors opened a business espionage inquiry against the person they suspect of betraying the secret files to Germany's BND external intelligence service, and against other persons unknown.
They said Wednesday they had sent a message to German prosecutors in Bochum and Munich requesting they confirm the name of the informant.
Germany has repeatedly complained that Liechtenstein refuses to assist German inquiries into tax evasion.