German police raid Credit Suisse as part of tax inquiry

Click to follow
The Independent Online

German police yesterday launched raids on several offices of Credit Suisse as part of an investigation into whether staff at the Swiss bank helped clients evade taxes.

The raids are part of a wider investigation that stems from incriminating data stored on a CD that was passed to authorities in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia earlier this year, and now involves more than 150 prosecutors and investigators. "We can confirm the raids took place," Marc Dosch, a spokesman for the bank, said. "We are working very closely with the German authorities. But as this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further."

The searches are thought to have centred on tax officials in the bank's private banking arm, which offers bespoke services to wealthy clients. Prosecutors said they had focused on "unnamed" bank employees following an earlier inquiry in March, which sought to identify a number of the bank's clients. A total of 13 Credit Suisse offices were raided.

German police confirmed that the raids were part of a more detailed investigation that could last for some time. "The searches won't be finished by the end of today or perhaps not even tomorrow," a spokesman for the Dusseldorf prosecutor's office said. "We have computer specialists on location copying the hard drives."

The data on the CD has led to a widespread investigation into German tax evasion, and the authorities claim that more than 10,000 people have come forward and confessed to acting unlawfully.

The CD is said contain information on only 1,500 alleged tax evaders, although it has become part of a bigger investigation.

Credit Suisse became aware that it was part of the investigation in March when it restricted the travel of some officials to Germany.