A German friend of mine warned me about this a few years ago...... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-16-2008, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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A German friend of mine warned me about this a few years ago......

That is why he opened up his account in Singapore, it really is better than most countries.......

I read in a different article yesterday that the way the German authorities found out of this level of tax evasion is that they had been negotiating with a source for the info and finally paid that source a sum of 5 mllion Euro for the information so the level of corruption must be huge. This should hit the European market in the next few months when it doe not need it............ LGT admitted yesterday in the article that an employee from 2002 had stolen records from LGT plus memos detailing how their clients could avoid paying German tax........

Germany Unleashes Tax Attack

LONDON - Europe's uber-wealthy seem to have more to worry about these days when it comes to handling their finances. Less than a week after the British government said it was seeking more information from high-net-worth individuals about their offshore holdings, Germany is imposing a crack down on those who squirrel their money away in the postage-stamp-sized principality of Liechtenstein to avoid paying taxes.

Liechtenstein, a tiny country situated between Switzerland and Austria, is a popular destination for wealthy Germans who wish to keep their funds offshore and well-managed.

On Friday, the chief executive of Deutsche Post, Klaus Zumwinkel, became a first, high-profile casualty of the crackdown. He resigned from his post after word leaked that he was being investigated for allegedly funneling 1 million euros ($1.5 million) into Lichtenstein accounts to avoid paying tax in Germany. (See: "Deutsche Post CEO On His Way Out")

The German government is now investigating "many more" cases of tax evasion, a finance ministry spokesman told Reuters, and government sources have also said that the number of probably totals several thousand.

Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper said Friday that government investigators managed to get hold of extensive data about offshore bank accounts in Liechtenstein, and specifically for accounts at LGT Treuhand, an independent unit of Liechtenstein Global Trust Group. LGT could not be reached for comment on Friday, but Handelsblatt quoted one unnamed investigator as saying: "We cracked the entire bank."

LGT Group is a big, privately owned wealth-and-asset management company with nearly 100 billion Swiss francs ($91.5 billion) under management as of June 30, 2007. For the last 70 years, it has been controlled by the Princely House of Liechtenstein, one of the oldest noble families of Europe, which traces its line back to the 12th century.

Today, Germany's reputation for handling its own taxes is looking anything but noble. Germans evade around 30 billion euros ($44 billion) in taxes every year, the German Tax Union estimates.

A tax amnesty that Germany offered in 2004 in a bid to lure back money from neighboring financial centers such as Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria raised less than 1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) for public coffers, compared with a target of 5 billion ($7.3 billion), according to Reuters.

Germany Unleashes Tax Attack - Forbes.com

Another more detailed article but I can still not find the article I read yesterday detailing the payoff to the informant and the theft of data from LGT. Massive Tax Evasion Scandal in Germany: The Liechtenstein Connection - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 12:10 AM
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Ouch, this will have an interesting trickle down effect.

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Being smart is knowing the difference, in a sticky situation between a well delivered anecdote and a well delivered antidote - bear.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Here is the article I was looking for this morning, very informative.........

BERLIN (AFP) - - The German government said Saturday that it paid an informer to get Liechtenstein bank details on a multi-billion-euro tax evasion scandal that has rocked the country's business elite.

After one top company chief resigned and with hundreds of wealthy Germans now reportedly under suspicion, a bank in the principality that has built its reputation on banking secrecy said German authorities were working from a list of its clients stolen by an employee in 2002.

Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck approved the payment to the informant, his department said in a statement, without confirming a Der Spiegel magazine report that five million euros (7.3 million dollars) was handed over.

Steinbrueck "was kept informed of the budgetary consequences and gave his approval to the payment" to the secret informed, a ministry statement said.

The minister "had no knowledge of the details of the action undertaken nor the accounts and the names," said the statement.

Deutsche Post chairman Klaus Zumwinkel resigned on Friday after it was revealed that he was under investigation and authorities have confirmed that hundreds more "high end" wage earners face a similar tax evasion inquiry.

Press reports said 900 search warrants had been executed this weekend and that several billion euros could be involved.

A finance ministry spokesman said on Friday that the suspects were "especially people whose revenues are at the high end of the scale."

Der Spiegel magazine said the scandal came to light after investigators handed over five million euros to an informer who contacted the BND secret service in early 2006.

Without naming sources, the weekly said the BND and North Rhine-Westphalia state tax inspectors worked together to verify the documents. It said the payment was made for information on those involved in the tax fraud and secret instructions from Liechtenstein on how to hide the flow of money.

Liechtenstein's LGT bank group announced that it appeared the German authorities seemed to be working from a list of its clients stolen in 2002.

LGT spokesman Hans-Martin Uehlinger said the list would contain "several hundred names," adding, "we are going to warn all our clients who are on this list."

The bank said Friday that "sensitive documents" had been stolen in 2002 by an employee of its subsidiary LGT-Treuhand, who had been tried the following year.


The bank thought that all the material had been returned but realised in 2007 that client data might have been "passed on illegally to third parties."

The tax fraud has become a national scandal since a prosecutor in the western city of Bochum announced that Deutsche Post head Zumwinkel was suspected of involvement in tax fraud.

Zumwinkel left Deutsche Post and also quit as chairman of the supervisory board of Deutsche Telekom. He told Bild newspaper in an interview published on Saturday that he would cooperate with the investigation.

The fraud has been widely condemned by German leaders and could be raised in talks when Liechtenstein Prime Minister Otmar Hasler meets Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin this week, her spokesman said.

Economy Minister Michael Glos called on business leaders to adopt ethical behaviour and get rid of their bad habits, in an interview to appear in the Bild am Sonntag paper Sunday.

They should "be aware of their function as a model for society," he said. "Otherwise our social market economy will no longer be credible."

Der Spiegel, in its latest edition to appear Monday, quoted Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble as saying, "These people are destroying everything.

"When the elite do not understand that they must respect the law, it is serious."

"The economic elites are undermining the system," Finance Minister Steinbrueck said in an interview with Die Zeit.

LGT's Internet site describes it as "The Wealth and Asset Management Group of the Princely House of Liechtenstein."

The principality, along with Andorra and Monaco, is viewed as an uncooperative tax haven by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development because of its banking secrecy.

German government paid to get tax dodge secrets - Yahoo! Singapore News


Rumor is this where the Suharto family moved the billions of their cash when the screen of secrecy fell in Switzerland.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 08:44 AM
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FYI, the Deutsche Post owns DHL and T-mobile among others.
In the old days it used to be legal, and probably still is, (loop hole) to register a business headquarter in Liechtenstein, and have the manufacturing facility in Germany.
The Liechtenstein HQ could then authorize the factories to invoice, collect payments etc., but the profits would be accrued in Liechtenstein, bypassing German taxes.
The owner of VDO was one of the biggest examples here.
Liechtenstein's currency is the Swiss Franc. There is even a small German town, where based on a treaty dating back to medieval times, Liechtenstein banks operate branch offices, regulated by Liechtenstein banking secrecy laws, and outside German authorities.
The customers don't have to cross a border.
The Liechtenstein capital of Vaduz has a population of only 35,000, but 85,000 so called mailbox companies are registered there. Usually through local attorneys, and not so different from Luxembourg.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
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^^^^I think they are in the shit now...........these guys would never pay 5 million euro unless they have some serious and legitimate cases
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 08:53 AM
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Robert, what will happen in Singapore, when the Government should be forced to relax its grip on the population, and racial tension is allowed to surface?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2008, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Teutone View Post
Robert, what will happen in Singapore, when the Government should be forced to relax its grip on the population, and racial tension is allowed to surface?

Oh it would blow but it is all that tax free money from the foreignors that is keeping that place going and most know that. They esitimate there are 90 billion USD alone just from Indonesian business men sitting in Singapore banks. Besides the govt. and some of the largest businesses are still totally controlled by the Lee family. Jesus some of the largest banks there are run by the Lee family as CEO's. DBS, OUB, to buy any HDB housing there you have to use the services of the lawyers Lee and Lee to close the deal. Unbelievable what they still control there and I loved (sarcastically) the way the elder Lee had a surrogate prime minister (Goh Choc Tong) stand in until his son was ready and then junior took over just a couple of years ago. Personally I believe the racial tension would never come to the surface the govt. would shut it down before it started. Evne to this day you need a permit from the govt. to just stand on the street and address the public, no permit, go directly to jail.

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