“With the new data set, we will illuminate the dark corners in which tax offenders have been left far behind,” German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in a statement.
Germany’s finance minister has ordered the acquisition of data on Germans with assets in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as part of efforts to combat tax evasion, following the similar data purchases from Switzerland in the last decade.
The finance minister said the CD data had been sent Wednesday to the regional financial authorities for them to examine and decide whether to initiate proceedings against possible offenders.
“We will use all means to detect tax crimes,” Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said in a statement. “With the new data set, we are illuminating the dark corners in which tax offenders have so far been embroiled.”
Negotiations with an anonymous informant were launched in January and the purchase for an undisclosed amount was made in February, although it has been announced only now.
The acquisition comes ahead of Germany’s September 26 national election in which Scholz, who is also the deputy chancellor of the outgoing government, is the center-left candidate of the Social Democrats to succeed Conservative Angela Merkel and leader of Germany. Although Scholz is widely respected, his party is not pulled out of a long-running voting contest.
One of Scholz’s party co-leaders, Norbert Walter-Borjans, bought several CDs containing data on customers of Swiss banks when he was finance minister of Germany’s most populous state, the North Rhine-Westphalia, between 2010 and 2017. Switzerland has expressed its indignation at those moves.
Der Spiegel magazine reported for the first time the purchase of a CD containing details of assets in Dubai such as land deals and real estate held by German citizens.
Spiegel said an anonymous informant approached German officials and offered to pass on the data, for which the Federal Tax Office paid about 2 million euros ($ 2.42 million).
The tax authorities of the 16 German states had in the past sought information from countries such as Switzerland to uncover possible tax evasion by wealthy Germans.