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Swiss 'Tax Spy' Confesses In German Court

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

31 October 2017


The man accused of spying on the tax authority in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia on behalf of Switzerland has appeared in court in Frankfurt.

The suspect, an ex-member of the Swiss police force and referred to in court as Daniel M., told the courtroom that he had been paid EUR28,000 (USD32,550) by the Swiss authorities to obtain details about tax investigators working at the NRW tax authority.

However, he denied acting with criminal intent, telling the court via a statement read out by his lawyer that he acted out of a combination of "patriotism, a desire for adventure, a pursuit of profit, and outrage."

It is believed that the suspect, who was arrested in Frankfurt in April 2017, was tasked with gathering information on NRW tax office personnel because the authority had on numerous occasions received electronic media containing information of clients of Swiss banks, which had been obtained from financial institutions in defiance of Switzerland's laws on privacy and data protection.

According to Deutsche Welle, the state of Nord-Rhine Westphalia has paid EUR17.9m to acquire information on potential tax evaders since 2010, collecting in excess of EUR7bn in unpaid taxes and penalties as a result.

Daniel M. could face a jail sentence of up to five years after being charged with espionage. However, the judge said that the punishment could be reduced to a suspended sentence and a fine of around EUR50,000 if the suspect provides credible information on his activities in Germany.

TAGS: court | tax | law | banking | tax authority | Germany | Switzerland | penalties | Tax | Tax Evasion

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