Germany buys data on 1,000s of alleged tax cheats

German state buys data on secret Swiss bank accounts of 1,000s of alleged tax cheats

Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) -- German authorities say they have purchased a CD containing secret Swiss bank account details of thousands of alleged tax cheats.

The southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate says the data prompted over 200 raids nationwide against suspects in the early hours of Tuesday.

State Finance Minister Carsten Kuehl says he expects to net some 500 million euros ($654 million) as a result.

Kuehl says the data was deemed "authentic and of excellent quality" by investigators before it was purchased for 4 million euros.

German states have purchased several sets of data stolen from Swiss banks in the past to pursue suspected tax evaders.

This practice has angered Switzerland but served as ammunition for German opposition parties who object to a government-backed deal amounting to an amnesty for German clients of Swiss banks.

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