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Merkel Criticized for Intent to Buy Bank Data

FINANCIAL PRIVACY—GERMANY & SWITZERLAND

February 3, 2010

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is drawing criticism from her own Christian Democratic party over her intention to buy stolen data on about 1,500 German taxpayers who hold Swiss bank accounts, The Independent reports. The data was stolen from the Swiss bank HSBC and was offered for sale to German authorities for €2.5 million to aid their efforts in discovering tax evaders. Members of the party described plans to buy the data as immoral, and Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz warned that such a purchase would strain relations between the two countries, noting that "The use of stolen bank data for tax purposes is simply illegal."
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