Mystery of the "stolen Swiss tax data disc"

 

The saga of the "tax data disc" allegedly stolen from unspecified Swiss banks continues to develop.

No one has been specific about what exactly is on the disc. Some say it contains the names of 1500 German clients of Swiss banks, mostly based in the North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria, and Baden-Württemberg regions.

Back in February, Reuters and other sources quoted Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble as saying they were prepared to buy the CD.

Latest media reports claim - without any solid source - that the German federal government has actually bought the disc for Euro2.5 million.

Hans-Ulrich Meister, Chief Executive of Credit Suisse's Swiss business, has said there is no evidence that any of his clients' names are on it. Meanwhile the Swiss bankers' association has urged Germany not to act as "a receiver of stolen goods".

Moreover, the well-publicised soap opera has created many copycat thieves, or more likely fraudsters: the financial authorities of various Länder are offered new CDs every week.

 North Rhine-Westphalia is said to have already bought a disc. The Irish, Austrian, Belgian and Dutch governments have also expressed interest.

What seems undisputed is that the tale has scared many German taxpayers into disclosing their foreign assets. The number of voluntary declarations in Germany is said to have doubled to nearly 4,000 in the last week of February.

This has led some to even speculate that the disc exists only in the imagination of the German tax ministry, which has invented the story purely for the purpose of encouraging disclosures.

 

Sources

Wall Street Journal

Tax-News

New York Times

Reuters


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