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Iran Press TV

German prosecutors begin probe against Swiss financial spies

Iran Press TV

Mon Aug 14, 2017 1:46PM

Four Swiss spies who allegedly reported on German tax investigators are now under official probe in Germany, local media say, in what could really affect relations between the two neighbors.

German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung said in a report on Monday that the new investigation by federal prosecutors came after the arrest five months ago of a Swiss man, identified as Daniel M., 54, who had reportedly spied since 2012 on German authorities hunting tax cheats.

There was no official confirmation of the report, which was compiled in cooperation with public broadcasters NDR and WDR.

The report said the current investigation was launched in August and prosecutors had charged Daniel M. with spying for Switzerland's NDB intelligence service on German financial inspectors hunting alleged tax evasion by German citizens in Switzerland. Germany bans its residents from stashing their money in Swiss banks to evade paying taxes at home.

Local German media said Daniel M., along with the three unidentified NDB recruits, was tasked with identifying those German inspectors who had coordinated the purchase of stolen data on German tax dodgers in Switzerland.

Several German states have admitted that they have bought CDs or USB sticks containing stolen data on German citizens stashing money in Swiss banks since early 2006. The move has forced many of Germany's rich, powerful and famous to publicly apologize and pay back the incurred taxes and fines.

Switzerland, which routinely boasts of the confidentiality of its banking data, has called Germany's purchase of the stolen data outrageous.

The new probe in Germany could further complicate ties with Switzerland.

After Daniel M. was arrested in April, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel rebuked Switzerland for the "incredible" espionage case, which he said could "wreck" the countries' good relationship.

Gabriel's Swiss counterpart Didier Burkhalter assured the top German diplomat in discussions at the time that the monitoring of German tax inspectors had stopped in 2014.

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