Germany to Purchase Stolen Swiss Bank Data
Germany has agreed to purchase stolen Swiss bank account data. For €2.5 million, the German government will receive information on 1500 names. Though the data would essentially be contraband and thus illegally obtained, the measure, intended to crack down on tax fraud, is supported by 59 percent of German voters.
When one speaks of Switzerland, often the first thing to come to mind is the (in)famous Swiss banking industry. It's become a cliché in corporate thrillers and gangster films that anyone with money to hide has a Swiss bank account, and the reality isn't all that far from the myth. Swiss banking regulations have always favored the privacy of the account holder.
Countries including Germany, France, and the United States have all made efforts to crack down on Swiss bank accounts, investigating tax fraud and recovering lost revenue. Switzerland has been unwilling to budge on their security, but that doesn't mean the information isn't available to those who want it.
The real danger to the Swiss banking industry are the employees of the banks themselves. With this case in Germany and with similar incidents in the past few years, the information has come from Swiss banking officials who have stolen the data from their own institutions.
All the government regulations can't stop a disgruntled employee looking to make a few million euros. And when major world governments are acquiescing to purchase contraband, it sends a serious message: they're going to get what they want, whether or not Switzerland is willing to cooperate.