100 Spaniards to be probed in Liechtenstein banking scandal

3rd March 2008, Comments 0 comments

The Spanish tax office confirmed at the weekend that it has obtained the names of 100 Spanish citizens believed to have evaded taxes in Liechtenstein

3 March 2008

MADRID - The Spanish tax office confirmed at the weekend that it has obtained the names of 100 Spanish citizens believed to have evaded taxes in Liechtenstein, becoming the 15th country involved in an international probe into fiscal fraud in the Alpine principality.

Tax officials did not disclose the identity of the suspected tax evaders, although most are believed to be wealthy business owners with millions of euros of financial assets deposited in Liechtenstein banks. They are among hundreds of people named on a DVD purchased by the German government from an informant last month, which ignited the international scandal.

Since then 15 countries have said they are investigating tax fraud by their citizens in Liechtenstein. The number of people under investigation by Spain is comparable to those being probed by the United States, while Italy says it is investigating 150 people and France 200. Germany says more than 1,000 of its citizens are suspected of evading taxes to the tune of EUR 4 billion.

According to Spanish authorities, tax officials are attempting to determine the full extent of the evasion carried out by Spanish tax payers. Those who owe the tax office less than EUR 120,000 will face fines and sanctions imposed by the tax office directly, while those owing more than that amount can expect to face criminal charges in court, authorities said.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / LUCÍA ABELLÁN 2008]

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