Liechtenstein banks end tax evasion probe with €50 million payout

Banks in Liechtenstein ended one of the largest tax evasion probes in Germany history by paying a record settlement of €50 million, a media report said Thursday.

Liechtenstein banks end tax evasion probe with €50 million payout
Photo: DPA

Banks in the tiny alpine principality, which lies between Switzerland and Austria, had been under investigation since February 2008, when the German government purchased stolen bank data from a former employee of the Liechtenstein princely house’s bank, LGT Group.

The data led to hundreds of individual investigations into tax violations, including one that saw former Deutsche Post boss Klaus Zumwinkel sentenced to two years probation and a fine of €1 million in January 2009.

State prosecutors in Bochum have been investigating some 40 employees of former LGT subsidiary LGT Treuhand on suspicion of abetting tax evasion. But prosecutors agreed to suspend their investigation if they pay fines of some €3.65 million, and the LGT group pays another €46.35 million, daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Both sides called the agreement a success, the paper said, explaining that the suspects in Liechtenstein escaped trial and Germany still recovered some lost tax revenue.

Thanks to the investigation the country has already raked in several hundred million euros from tax dodgers due to voluntary disclosure from offenders after the Liechtenstein scandal, in addition to a more recent case involving the purchase of stolen bank data from Switzerland.


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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.