Fashion mogul just one of hundreds raided in German tax crackdown


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The Independent Online

A fashion millionaire was among hundreds of customers of the Swiss bank UBS whose homes have been searched in a series of raids across Germany intended to track down tax evaders, it has emerged.

Albert Eickhoff, the owner of the Düsseldorf fashion label Eickhoff, which has a turnover of €27m, said inspectors searched his villa at dawn on Monday following allegations that he had used a Swiss foundation to avoid paying tax.

Seventy-six year-old Mr Eickhoff told the Bild newspaper: "It was once considered good form to send money abroad. One could not tell whether it would be safe in Germany."

More than 50 tax inspectors from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia raided hundreds of businesses and private homes across Germany on Monday.

They were acting on incriminating information contained in six CDs sold to the state finance ministry by former bank employees in a series of controversial deals.

North Rhine-Westphalia began buying up CDs containing the details of German clients with Swiss bank accounts in 2010.

The state has claimed that its actions are justified. It points out that the information has led to scores of prosecutions and the return some €3bn worth of previously undeclared revenue.

North Rhine-Westphalia claims to have details of 7,000 Swiss bank account holders.