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Handelsblatt: In the fight against tax evasion, Greece is a model country

“Germany does not belong to the group of countries that have exemplified all international rules against tax evasion”, a German financial newspaper said.

The Düsseldorf financial newspaper Handelsblatt reported endemic tax evasion in Germany.

“Eight years ago, Germany and Great Britain declared war on tax evasion worldwide. Today, however, the Federal Republic of Germany does not belong to the group of countries that have exemplified all international anti-tax evasion rules”, the newspaper said.

“At least that is what the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ‘s new progress report on the automatic exchange of foreign account data, published on Wednesday, says”, the newspaper continued.

“Germany is among those countries that need to improve their rules – along with countries such as the Netherlands, but also Barbados, Panama and Switzerland”, Handelsblatt added.

However, it was the next part in the newspaper that was most surprising when we consider Germany’s denouncement of tax evasion in Mediterranean Europe at the height of the financial crisis last decade.

“Model countries in Europe include Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Greece”, the newspaper said.

The newspaper continues: “OECD rules stipulate that banks must declare the accounts of their customers living abroad to the tax authorities. In Germany, the Federal Central Tax Office transmits these account details to the tax authorities of the respective countries”.

“The process is automated and monitored by the OECD World Forum. One hundred countries participate in the exchange of information. In 2019, 84,000,000 accounts with assets of 10 trillion euros were declared to the authorities worldwide”, the German newspaper added.

As recently as last year, German prosecutors raided Commerzbank’s Frankfurt headquarters as part of a criminal investigation into the banks decade-long tax fraud that cost the country billions of euros.

COMMERZBANK tax evasion
COMMERZBANK.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said that “investigative measures were carried out within the framework of the procedure complex around the cum-ex transactions […] due to tax secrecy”.