Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Germany Says it Will Purchase Tax-Evader Data—I Worry about the Whistle Blower

Germany Says it Will Purchase Tax-Evader Data—I Worry about the Whistle Blower

By Kevin Stoda, Wiesbaden, Germany

After much hand-wringing over the legality of the matter these past few weeks, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, says her country is going to proceed with buying “stolen bank” data, explaining, "If these data are relevant we should aim to get hold of them."


Reportedly, similar documents from the same “illegal source” in Switzerland are also being purchased by the French government.

In the German press this weekend, there had been worries raised by leading editors and ethicists about the nation going down a slippery slope in agreeing to buy stolen data from a Swiss source. Finally, however, the bottom line for the German governments and its legal experts is that paying off a secondary informant to hand over names and data of major tax evaders from Germany is a no-brainer at a time when Germany has the largest public debt in the nation’s history.

However, some politicians lean more toward Swiss President Doris Leuthard, who has stated, "Generally speaking, we [in Switzerland] believe that it is difficult for states to use illegal data . . . . It would mean doing business with criminals, which is against the law." THE EPIC TIMES notes, “If Germany proceeds with the purchase, this would trouble upcoming negotiations about a revised double taxation agreement according to the Swiss Banking Association.”

This issue first raised its head in Germany 5 years ago when a man in Lichtenstein had passed on information about German tax evaders and had done so by dealing directly through the German national security service (Bundesnachrichtendienst). The new data is expected to cost the German government 2.5 million Euros.


I have written previously about how the U.S.A. is not supporting its whistle blowers enough legally. From the statement of the Swiss President above, one can see that the very Swiss bank whistleblower[s] or “criminal[s?] in question have absolutely no recourse in Switzerland to justice or a fair hearing.


Therefore, I would suggest that the USA or another nation offer the “bank data collector” refuge or asylum from Swiss law. Second, I would suggest that the USA, Germany, France, Switzerland—and all countries who fail to support whistle blowing to revise their national laws, national policies, procedures and practices.


I doubt that 2.5 million Euros would be enough to protect in Swiss courts the very person[s] who collected the data on tax evaders in Switzerland over the past few years, i.e. enabling other states, like Germany and France to have access to crimes and criminals of tax evasion—potentially into the tens or hundreds of billions of Euros.




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