German regional North Rhine-Westphalia state said it had sent three files containing approximately 160,000 bank accounts in Luxembourg belonging to people suspected of tax evasion to 19 European countries.
Of the accounts, more than 50,000 belong to Germans, 49.022 concern Belgians and 42,540 French, according to a statement from the Regional Ministry of Finance.
It specifies that the data comes from a hard drive sent anonymously to the regional tax authority.
“Tax justice must not stop at the border,” said the regional Finance Minister Norbert Walter-Borjans, in the statement.
“We take every opportunity to cooperate with the tax authorities of our European neighbours.”Furthermore, France has forwarded to the authorities of the same German region data relating to foundations and companies established in Switzerland.
This information comes in addition to that which was revealed by the Franco-Italian whistleblower Hervé Falciani, in the “swiss leaks” scandal involving seven countries.
In this series of revelations by a global network of newspapers, HSBC was accused of handled about 180 billion euros belonging to wealthy customers between November 2006 and March 2007 on accounts in Switzerland, allowing them to evade taxes in their countries.
Finally, the German region has a third file containing internal documents of a “major European bank.”
These could give European tax authorities “clues about a possible tax fraud complicity,” said the statement, which does not identify the bank.
Walter-Borjans said the sharing of this data across Europe initiated by the North Rhine-Westphalia is also a message to tax evaders whose “money caches are increasingly being found. Everywhere, the danger of being found out is growing.”
The North Rhine-Westphalia has already made a name for itself in the past in the fight against tax evasion: in November 2015, the regional authorities sent data to Greece regarding fraudsters.
The state has also already bought several CD or USB keys containing the bank details of suspected fraudsters, a method that had raised controversy in Germany.