German taxman recovers 1.6 bln euros from secret accounts
German tax authorities recovered 1.6 billion euros this year from citizens who had stashed their cash in secret accounts in Liechtenstein and Switzerland, according to the weekly Der Spiegel.
They hope to claw back another 200 million (260 million dollars) next year thanks to secret banking data from both countries which they had acquired relatively cheaply, the weekly said.
In 2008 a former employee of Liechtenstein's biggest bank sold data on client accounts in the secretive Alpine banking haven to the German secret service for five million euros.
The affair triggered a high profile crackdown on tax evasion in Germany, prompting investigations into business executives, sports stars and entertainers, and resulting in the conviction of former Deutsche Post head Klaus Zumwinkel.
Early this year officials in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia bought a computer disc for a reported 2.5 million euros with information on secret Swiss accounts.
In July German authorities raided branches of Credit Suisse in Germany as part of a tax evasion probe, sparking tension with Switzerland, which said the data was stolen in violation of its sacrosanct banking secrecy law.
Germany's constitutional court has approved the practice of using stolen data to track down tax fiddlers.
© 2010 AFP