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  1. Wealth
February 1, 2010

WSJ: Germany offered Swiss data

By Spear's

Switzerland faced a renewed assault on its private banking system as Germany considered paying for secret Swiss account data detailing alleged tax evasion by about 1,500 German taxpayers.

Switzerland faced a renewed assault on its private banking system as Germany considered paying for secret Swiss account data detailing alleged tax evasion by about 1,500 German taxpayers.

German authorities familiar with the investigation said Sunday that a confidential informant offered to sell them the data for €2.5 million ($3.5 million). The authorities, who say the information was stolen from a Swiss bank, say officials examined samples of the data that proved to be authentic.

Swiss banking, built on the promise of confidentiality, is still reeling from a bruising battle last year with the U.S. over allegations regarding tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers. Many Swiss bankers worry that such cases will erode client trust and lead to a flight of accounts to other countries.

Under pressure from the U.S. and other nations, Switzerland recently agreed to water down its banking secrecy laws. Yet tax evasion isn’t a crime in Switzerland, and countries across Europe continue to complain that the Alpine nation is an attractive refuge for tax cheats.

To read the full story, visit wsj.com

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