Swiss Data Affair Could Pay Off Handsomely for Germany

The extent of tax evasion by a number of German citizens with Swiss bank accounts appears to be far wider than originally thought. As the German government prepares to fork out a considerable sum for a CD with information about Germans suspected of dodging taxes, a newspaper reports that tax authorities could recover up to €400 million ($500 million) in back taxes.

According to a report in Friday’s edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, German tax officials are basing their assessment on a sample of data relating to around 100 bank accounts that the informant has already provided them with. The German government has been criticized over the fact that it is willing to pay a large sum, thought to be around €2.5 million ($3.4 million), for the stolen data.

It is still not completely clear which bank the data refers to. Until now speculation had revolved around Swiss banking giant UBS and British-based lender HSBC. However, the spotlight is now focusing on Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second biggest bank, which is active in 50 countries and has over 47,000 employees.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that internal Credit Suisse documents from 2004 suggest that more than 80 percent of German customers who held accounts with the bank in Switzerland were hiding the interest earned on these deposits from tax authorities back home.

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