Liechtenstein fraud probe spreads to Spain as tax office picks up trail

27th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

A rapidly expanding international probe into tax evasion centred on Liechtenstein spread to Spain on Tuesday.

27 February 2008

MADRID - A rapidly expanding international probe into tax evasion centred on Liechtenstein spread to Spain on Tuesday, with the Spanish tax office confirming that it is joining a growing list of countries investigating citizens with bank accounts, companies and foundations in the Alpine principality.

The potentially massive case of tax fraud emerged earlier this month when Germany admitted to paying EUR 4.2 million for information on German nationals with accounts at LGT, a private bank owned by Liechtenstein's royal family. Britain, France, Italy, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and the United States have since launched their own inquiries. Spain on Tuesday became the latest to target its citizens who had allegedly been using LGT to hide money from the tax office.

"We are analysing information about Spanish citizens included in these lists of bank accounts and deposits in Liechtenstein, which were used, presumably, for tax evasion and fiscal fraud," the Spanish tax office said in a statement.

It said that after it has studied the information it will decide whether to launch further investigations or to turn individual cases over to prosecutors to bring criminal charges.

[Copyright El Pais 2008]

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