Germany to use secret bank list to track fraudsters: report

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Germany will prosecute fraudsters using stolen data it bought about its citizens who secretly deposited assets in HSBC bank in Luxembourg, the German Financial Times will report Friday.

The German state of North-Rhine Westphalia bought for about three million euros a CD-ROM some months ago containing information on the bank accounts held by Germans in Luxembourg, said the newspaper.

Prosecutions by the treasury could start next month.

Germany has in recent years been engaged in a crusade against tax evasion using banking data from Lichtenstein and Switzerland, putting its ties with these countries at risk.

Last year, Berlin recovered 1.6 billion euros from fraudsters using stolen data on Germans who had placed assets in banks in these two countries, according to news reports.

A CD-ROM from Lichtenstein was bought for 5.0 million euros in 2008, leading to the arrest of Deutsche Post ex-chief Klaus Zumwinkel, and his conviction on tax evasion.

In 2009, German authorities turned their sights on lists of Swiss bank clients, also obtained at a price.

The German Constitutional Court has given the go-ahead for the use of such data to track fraudsters.

© 2011 AFP

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