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04/17/2013

German states pool their euros, buy CD containing bank deposit details. Swiss authorities are not amused

If you can't beat 'em, buy 'em.

Spiegel Online is reporting German states, fed up with tax evaders sticking all their money into Swiss bank accounts, pooled their resources and bought a CD containing bank deposit details.The Rhineland-Palatinate state and four others bought the info for about $5.2 million, according to reports.

Apparently, the CD had information on 10,000 bank customers and German authorities used it to conduct "raids" on 200 alleged tax evaders, Spiegel Online said.

Rhineland-Palatinate officials have high hopes for their treasure trove. They are expecting to get their hands on about $650 million in back taxes.

Spiegel says customers with bank accounts in Credit Suisse, and the former Clariden Leu AG and Neue Aargauer Bank are affected.

Understandably, Swiss authorities are not amused.

One has to wonder who sold the information to the Germans, and, how the informer obtained it in the first place.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists blew the lid off of trillions of dollars hiding in tax havens, last month, when they published stories concerning the release of 2.5 million banking documents.

Nearly 260 gigabytes of emails, documents, corporate files and account ledgers were obtained by the ICIJ's director Gerard Ryle. The information came to him on a hard drive in a big, brown envelope. There has been no suggestion, whatsoever, that he paid for it.

READ MORE: Europe’s economic crisis: How the rich avoid paying their tax bill

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga

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