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UK caught in tax evasion controversy

Latest update : 2008-02-25

According to the British press, UK's tax authority paid an informant 100,000 pounds ($196,500) for the bank details of scores of wealthy Britons in Liechtenstein. (Report: P. Hall)


LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Britain's tax authority is
investigating up to 100 British citizens with bank accounts in
secretive Liechtenstein after buying data from an informant in a
similar move to Germany, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
 

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) paid the informant
100,000 pounds ($196,500) for the bank details of scores of
wealthy Britons, The Sunday Times said, adding that the records
had been stolen from the tax haven.
 

An HMRC spokesman declined to confirm the report, but said:
"HMRC is using the powers given to it by parliament to protect
the UK Exchequer from those who seek to hide behind secrecy laws
to deprive the UK of tax revenues to which it is entitled."
 

A major German investigation into tax dodging centring on
Liechtenstein and its secretive banks has sparked a backlash in
Germany against the tiny Alpine country, which relies on
discreet banking services to attract foreign cash.
 

Liechtenstein is one of three countries on the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) tax-haven
black-list, alongside Andorra and Monaco.
 

Any Briton found to have evaded tax by putting money in a
Liechtenstein account faces fines of up to 100 percent of the
money owed to British tax authorities and, if deception is
proven, up to seven years in prison, The Sunday Times said.
 

German media have reported that Germany's BND intelligence
service paid an informant around 4.2 million euros for a compact
disk containing Liechtenstein bank data on over 1,000 tax
evasion suspects.
 

Germany's Finance Ministry confirmed the German government
paid for information. Liechtenstein accused Germany of illegally
acquiring the data.
 

The German tax probe has focused on suspicions that hundreds
of rich Germans evaded taxes by parking money in Liechtenstein's
banks. It has cost Deutsche Post's <DPWGn.DE> chief executive
his job and threatens to claim other high-profile victims.
 

Shares in Liechtenstein-based banks have been hit hard by
concerns the German probe could hurt their reputations and
business.
 

Prime Minister Otmar Hasler defended his country's policies
this week but also pledged to cooperate with Europe in combating
fraud.

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Britain's tax authority is
investigating up to 100 British citizens with bank accounts in
secretive Liechtenstein after buying data from an informant in a
similar move to Germany, a newspaper reported on Sunday.
 

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) paid the informant
100,000 pounds ($196,500) for the bank details of scores of
wealthy Britons, The Sunday Times said, adding that the records
had been stolen from the tax haven.
 

An HMRC spokesman declined to confirm the report, but said:
"HMRC is using the powers given to it by parliament to protect
the UK Exchequer from those who seek to hide behind secrecy laws
to deprive the UK of tax revenues to which it is entitled."
 

A major German investigation into tax dodging centring on
Liechtenstein and its secretive banks has sparked a backlash in
Germany against the tiny Alpine country, which relies on
discreet banking services to attract foreign cash.
 

Liechtenstein is one of three countries on the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) tax-haven
black-list, alongside Andorra and Monaco.
 

Any Briton found to have evaded tax by putting money in a
Liechtenstein account faces fines of up to 100 percent of the
money owed to British tax authorities and, if deception is
proven, up to seven years in prison, The Sunday Times said.
 

German media have reported that Germany's BND intelligence
service paid an informant around 4.2 million euros for a compact
disk containing Liechtenstein bank data on over 1,000 tax
evasion suspects.
 

Germany's Finance Ministry confirmed the German government
paid for information. Liechtenstein accused Germany of illegally
acquiring the data.
 

The German tax probe has focused on suspicions that hundreds
of rich Germans evaded taxes by parking money in Liechtenstein's
banks. It has cost Deutsche Post's <DPWGn.DE> chief executive
his job and threatens to claim other high-profile victims.
 

Shares in Liechtenstein-based banks have been hit hard by
concerns the German probe could hurt their reputations and
business.
 

Prime Minister Otmar Hasler defended his country's policies
this week but also pledged to cooperate with Europe in combating
fraud.

Date created : 2008-02-24

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