Germany hunts tax evaders in Dubai

Photo: EPA Olaf Scholz

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz confirmed information that his administration had taken steps to pursue persons and companies that evade taxes and hide assets in Dubai, AP reported. The German authorities have paid an undisclosed amount of money to obtain CDs containing data about assets, bank accounts and real estate property. The operation follows similar purchases by regional authorities of data from Switzerland in the past decade.

The Finance Ministry said the data on the CD was already sent to regional financial authorities to examine and decide whether to launch probes against possible offenders. “We are using all means to uncover tax offenses,” Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in a statement. “With the new set of data, we are illuminating dark corners in which tax offenders so far have holed up.” Talks with an anonymous informant were launched earlier in January and the purchase was made in February, though it was announced only now.

The purchase comes ahead of Germany’s 26 September national election in which Scholz, who is also the vice chancellor in the outgoing government, is the center-left Social Democrats’ candidate to succeed conservative Angela Merkel as Germany’s leader. Although Scholz is widely respected, his party hasn’t pulled out of a long-term poll slump. One of the co-leaders of Scholz’s party, Norbert Walter-Borjans, bought several CDs containing data on Swiss banks’ clients when he was the finance minister of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, between 2010 and 2017. Switzerland expressed outrage at those moves.

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