Swiss cabinet condemns German plan to buy bank data

08:33, February 04, 2010      

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The Swiss cabinet on Wednesday condemned a German plan to buy client information stolen from banks in Switzerland but said it would pursue negotiations.

In a strongly worded statement, the cabinet expressed " astonishment" at the German plan and said it "violates public policy and the principle of good faith," the official Swissinfo.ch news website reported.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble reportedly said on Tuesday that a decision had been made "in principle" to buy the stolen information, which concerns some 1,500 possible tax evaders and costing 2.5 million euros (3.5 million U.S. dollars).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week signaled support for the purchase.

The Swiss cabinet said it wished to resolve the problem of the stolen data but said it would not provide administrative assistance for cases based on the stolen information.

But the country will continue to pursue a double taxation accord with Germany in accordance with the Model Tax Convention of the Organization for Co-operation and Development, according to the report.

The latest spat with Germany has placed Switzerland's banking secrecy law under even greater pressure. The country has been under continuous international attack in the past 12 months for allegedly helping foreign tax evaders hide their assets.

Source: Xinhua
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