Belgians with Liechtenstein accounts to be looked into

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The Brussels public prosecutor has opened an investigation into Belgians with bank accounts in Liechtenstein.

10 September 2008

BRUSSELS -- The Brussels Public Prosecutor has opened an investigation into Belgians who have a bank account in the principality of Liechtenstein.

According to the daily De Tijd, the tax inspectors have already been investigating 50 Belgian account holders whose names were passed on by the German authorities.

In February, German tax inspectors raided clients of the Liechtenstein LGT bank and found 1,400 German names on a CD Rom with bank account numbers in Liechtenstein. Among the German names was the director of the Deutsche Post (German Post Office) who was forced to resign his post.

The German authorities found 50 Belgian names and passed the information along to the Belgian tax authorities.

As cooperation between the judiciary and the tax inspection can present a sticky legal situation, detectives have interrogated the director of the tax inspection about the information received by the Germans. The director is a witness in the prosecutor's case.

According to the spokesman of the Brussels public prosecutor Jos Colpin, it will be possible for the Belgians implicated to settle out of court depending on where the money came from. If it was a money laundering operation, sanctions would inevitably be more serious.

Germany and other Western European countries have long been at odds with Liechtenstein and other countries with bank secrecy laws. They say that these laws enable tax evasion.

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