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Old 31.03.2012, 11:29
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Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

http://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/wirtscha...story/20132412

There now is an arrest order against tax-investigators from Nordrhein-Westfalen who in a criminal way stole banking-data in Switzerland. The NRW Prime Minister now is embarrassed and angry. She only fails to see that her officials from a Swiss view are not just "in a criminal light" but ARE "mutmassliche" criminals
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Old 31.03.2012, 12:43
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

If a law specialist could explain it to us, modest creatures without law-degree:

- I thought legal evidence meant legally obtained evidence
- I see illegal obtained evidence in CH used in D court
Hence: what is the law-logic behind that wonder?
To us with normal logic, it looks like D does not respect its own legal specification for evidence in a court. I fail to see how tax law should be treated differently.

Genuine question, just eager to learn.
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Old 01.04.2012, 00:01
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

If the evidence was obtained in a legal way pertaining to German law, its admissible. Just because what happened turns out to be illegal in in Switzerland (as far as I remember pertaining to the banking secrecy laws, which don't matter in Germany) it doesn't mean its illegal in Germany and hence it might be admissible.

Also, little known fact - even if the evidence itself was not admissible it still can be used as a lead in an investigation that turns out legally admissible evidence later. So, a LOT of German tax evaders turned themselves in in order to avoid harder punishment when actually getting cought later.
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Old 01.04.2012, 00:24
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Tit for tat.
Maybe something related to the prolonged talks on tax agreement between CH and D? Otherwise why took it do long to bring up these accusations?

I guess some bank customer advisers from Switzerland no longer dare crossing the German border as well...
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Old 01.04.2012, 00:37
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

Does that mean that tax officer do not have to respect the legal agreements signed by their government with other countries? The legal ways to obtain these information failed by the agreements signed by German government, what does give them the right to disregard that? There are procedures for international legal cooperation, why is that disregarded when they are supposed to apply?

And if the Germans want the Swiss to keep away from German tax affairs, it should be no problem for them to respect that the Swiss treat the matter according to their own laws, and that means industrial spying/stolen data.
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Old 03.04.2012, 14:30
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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If the evidence was obtained in a legal way pertaining to German law, its admissible. Just because what happened turns out to be illegal in in Switzerland (as far as I remember pertaining to the banking secrecy laws, which don't matter in Germany) it doesn't mean its illegal in Germany and hence it might be admissible.

Also, little known fact - even if the evidence itself was not admissible it still can be used as a lead in an investigation that turns out legally admissible evidence later. So, a LOT of German tax evaders turned themselves in in order to avoid harder punishment when actually getting cought later.
About "If the evidence was obtained in a legal way pertaining to German law, its admissible"

I think all countries have laws against buying stolen goods; especially when the buyers know they were stolen?
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Old 03.04.2012, 15:04
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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About "If the evidence was obtained in a legal way pertaining to German law, its admissible"

I think all countries have laws against buying stolen goods; especially when the buyers know they were stolen?
My thought entirely. Many of the Germans themselves ask how the illegally purchased tax evasion CDs fit into the judicial system but as often the case is, the government can bend the rules (laws) to suit themselves. There have been many instances of this happening in the past few years in Germany but in the end, the politicians win.
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Old 03.04.2012, 16:07
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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My thought entirely. Many of the Germans themselves ask how the illegally purchased tax evasion CDs fit into the judicial system but as often the case is, the government can bend the rules (laws) to suit themselves. There have been many instances of this happening in the past few years in Germany but in the end, the politicians win.
About "but in the end, the politicians win"

In several countries politicians were surprised to find out that the end was not passed - the end came later with fines, disgrace & even prison. I suspect even in Germany this may happen sooner or later.
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Old 03.04.2012, 16:54
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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My thought entirely. Many of the Germans themselves ask how the illegally purchased tax evasion CDs fit into the judicial system but as often the case is, the government can bend the rules (laws) to suit themselves. There have been many instances of this happening in the past few years in Germany but in the end, the politicians win.
Fact is - no rule was bent in this case (other than buying stolen goods). The fiscal authorities only went public saying "we know who you are and where your money are" hoping the law-abiding Germans would actually voluntarily denounce themselves (as there was no way around voluntary disclosure). They could have done the same sans the incriminating CD.

Note how the French government tried to do the same thing with stolen HSBC data, and the law-abiding French replied to the threat with a collective "ha-ha".
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Old 03.04.2012, 16:59
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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Fact is - no rule was bent in this case (other than buying stolen goods). The fiscal authorities only went public saying "we know who you are and where your money are" hoping the law-abiding Germans would actually voluntarily denounce themselves (as there was no way around voluntary disclosure). They could have done the same sans the incriminating CD.

Note how the French government tried to do the same thing with stolen HSBC data, and the law-abiding French replied to the threat with a collective "ha-ha".
This isn't the first time that the German authorities have bought such a CD though - to my knowledge they have done so in several states throughout the past 4-5 years. In this case it's getting a lot of attention though because of the Swiss reaction. What cheeses me off with the whole thing is that the government is willing (and able) to stoop to seedy business with illicit material without even verifying the validity of it.

Another thing, if I was to buy a knocked-off Rolex and the police traced it to me, I would have it confiscated and possibly be charged with being an accessory to the crime. Why should the government then have a different privilege?
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Old 03.04.2012, 17:26
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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If a law specialist could explain it to us, modest creatures without law-degree:

- I thought legal evidence meant legally obtained evidence
- I see illegal obtained evidence in CH used in D court
Hence: what is the law-logic behind that wonder?
To us with normal logic, it looks like D does not respect its own legal specification for evidence in a court. I fail to see how tax law should be treated differently.

Genuine question, just eager to learn.
Illegally obtained evidence cannot be used in court. But it can be used by investigators so they know who to investigate so they find legal evidence.

So just being on the CD alone is no reason that anybody will be prosecuted. But it increases the odds.
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Old 03.04.2012, 17:28
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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If the evidence was obtained in a legal way pertaining to German law, its admissible. Just because what happened turns out to be illegal in in Switzerland (as far as I remember pertaining to the banking secrecy laws, which don't matter in Germany) it doesn't mean its illegal in Germany and hence it might be admissible.
It is not legal evidence in Germany.

It's not legal evidence anywhere as being obtained illicitly, by definition, there is no guarantee that any of that data is real.
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Old 03.04.2012, 17:30
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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So just being on the CD alone is no reason that anybody will be prosecuted. But it increases the odds.
Well it certainly increases the odds of people crawling out of the woodwork and making a "Selbstanzeige" at the German Finanzamt. Indeed, many have already done so and the media in German is continually hyping the whole thing up - probably in order to encourage others to do likewise (the mainstream media in Germany has very often done the bidding of the govt).
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Old 03.04.2012, 17:31
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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Fact is - no rule was bent in this case (other than buying stolen goods).
From what I've heard, not only were stolen goods purchased, but VAT was not declared. That weakens the case of a government pretending to want to stamp out tax evasion.
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Old 03.04.2012, 17:38
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

They have many reasons to be livid.

What about people on the CD who have legally and correctly declared their bank accounts and are paying tax? Suddenly honest citizens may find themselves being suspected of crime. How about people who weren't even German but were on that CD all the same? There might well be my or your name on the CD and I have nothing to hide but I don't want German investigators knowing about my finances. How about German companies knwoing about the financial state of their Swiss competitors? Is that not an unfair advanatge on the market? Once the data is stolen (and the German government considers that theft legal), who is to guarantee that the theives haven't made multiple copies and are seeking to maximise their return? How about illegal organsations buying that data to know who to kidnap or blackmail and how much to charge? How much would they pay for a copy? Do you trust the theives?
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Old 03.04.2012, 17:39
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

German bank secrecy law is "A bank's contractual obligation to maintain confidentiality on all facts and assessments relating to customers"

Will get interesting if an employee of a South German bank tries to sell the Swiss Govt. a CD of the German bank's Swiss customers.
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Old 03.04.2012, 18:12
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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If a law specialist could explain it to us, modest creatures without law-degree:

- I thought legal evidence meant legally obtained evidence
- I see illegal obtained evidence in CH used in D court
Hence: what is the law-logic behind that wonder?
To us with normal logic, it looks like D does not respect its own legal specification for evidence in a court. I fail to see how tax law should be treated differently.

Genuine question, just eager to learn.
essentially you're right.

Even if the German government know somebody is evading taxes, there is nothing they can do about it until they find legal evidence. And if the person is smart enough they can easily hide such evidence. But a lot of people have done a "Selbstanzeige" out of fear that evidence may be found, or worse still, because they didn't know that the stolen data could not be used in court. So basically the German government has called their bluff and the stupid ones have fallen for it and the smart ones are standing their ground. It's called fiscal Darwinism.
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Old 03.04.2012, 18:14
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

Here's a further development.

I apologise for the German article... basically what it says is that the Credit Suisse has now forbidden any work-related travel of their staff to Germany. It doesn't state what exactly the reason is but quotes a statement that the bank is rigorous in verifying that their staff are appropriately experienced, trained and knowledgeable in the country-specific regulations before allowing them to travel. Just a further escalation. The saga continues...
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Old 03.04.2012, 18:18
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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essentially you're right.

Even if the German government know somebody is evading taxes, there is nothing they can do about it until they find legal evidence. And if the person is smart enough they can easily hide such evidence. But a lot of people have done a "Selbstanzeige" out of fear that evidence may be found, or worse still, because they didn't know that the stolen data could not be used in court. So basically the German government has called their bluff and the stupid ones have fallen for it and the smart ones are standing their ground. It's called fiscal Darwinism.
I saw a TV report a few weeks back where the German customs' were checking people travelling back from the direction of Switzerland (via Austria). They nabbed a guy in a S-cladd Mercedes who apparently had not been in CH. Unfortunately for him, they found his Swiss bank statements in the car, going back for the past 8 years. As the story came out, he wanted to also do a "Selbstanzeige" and needed the documentation in order to do this properly.

Unfortunately for him the "Zoll" told him that for a "Selbstanzeige" it was already too late because they nabbed him before he had declared this. What a bummer! So now he is nicked for tax evasion
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Old 03.04.2012, 18:34
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Re: Swiss arrest order against German banking spies

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I saw a TV report a few weeks back where the German customs' were checking people travelling back from the direction of Switzerland (via Austria). They nabbed a guy in a S-cladd Mercedes who apparently had not been in CH. Unfortunately for him, they found his Swiss bank statements in the car, going back for the past 8 years. As the story came out, he wanted to also do a "Selbstanzeige" and needed the documentation in order to do this properly.

Unfortunately for him the "Zoll" told him that for a "Selbstanzeige" it was already too late because they nabbed him before he had declared this. What a bummer! So now he is nicked for tax evasion
Firstly, he was stupid for even bringing such documents into Germany.

Secondly, he was even more stupid for telling them that. To be able to prove anything, the customs officials would have had to phone the Finanzamt to verify that these accounts had not been declared, and I doubt that the Finanzamt anwers such queries over the telephone, not even to customs agents. I doubt that the Finanzamt can even access such data in real time. I know from my relatives in Germany that they take months if not years to respond to the simplest of questions, and then still get them wrong. So they would even have had to let the guy go, or confiscated those statements and he would still have had time to do a Selbstanzeige and have it on the desk of the Finanzamt before the customs got their act together.

And summing up, remember a lot of what you see on TV is set up, often with the intent of scaring people. Quite possibly the guy was an actor doing his job. Do you think he would have signed a moel release to allow footage of him to be put on TV to see for everybody to smirk over if he'd really just been caught in a serious way?

And finally, I've personally transferred heaps of documents and papers over the border over the years. I've had customs guys look at all sorts of stuff but never my paperwork. They'd probably be too thick to see a bank statment if they saw one.
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