German probe of Credit Suisse a success: prosecutor

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Tax raids on Credit Suisse bank branches in Germany have been a success, yielding lots of information and with most of the searches now completed, a German prosecutor said Friday.

"The searches continue today in Frankfurt and could last until next week," state attorney Johannes Mocken told AFP.

"The collection of data in three or four other cities should wrap up today and we ended searches on Thursday in the others," Mocken added.

On Wednesday, the Duesseldorf prosecutor's office went to branches of Switzerland's second biggest bank in 13 German cities as part a probe of 1,100 clients and bank staff suspected of hiding funds from tax officials.

Mocken was not able to say how many people in all were under investigation but he declared the operation "a great success," with the data that had been recovered to be analysed in the coming weeks.

In February, officials in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia bought a computer disc for a reported 2.5 million euros (3.2 million dollars) with information on wealthy Germans linked to the investigation.

They were urged to come forward of their own accord to avoid prosecution, and some 12,000 had done so by late March.

A spokesman for Duesseldorf prosecutors told AFP at the time that "the Credit Suisse clients have investments in total of around 1.2 billion euros."

The amount of tax owed to the authorities was unclear, he added, but according to several sources they stood to recover up to 400 million euros.

Swiss authorities slammed the purchase of confidential data and the affair provoked diplomatic tension with Germany, which is nonetheless determined to recover tax revenue from accounts in neighbouring countries where funds may have been deposited to evade tax.

© 2010 AFP

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