German prosecutors say branches of Swiss bank Credit Suisse have been raided as part of an investigation into tax evasion. Investigators used information from a stolen CD bought earlier this year.
The tax activities of more than 1,000 wealthy Germans are under investigation
Tax investigators raided all 13 German branches of Swiss bank Credit Suisse on Wednesday, as part of a probe into tax fraud allegedly committed by the bank's German customers.
Around 150 officials searched branches in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Duesseldorf and other cities, acting on information from a recently-purchased CD containing the details of over 1,000 suspected tax evaders.
Investigators were acting on a warrant issued by a Duesseldorf district court. State attorney Johannes Mocken said the raids "targeted Credit Suisse staff suspected of having assisted tax fraud by clients."
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia bought the stolen disk of data from a Credit Suisse employee in February. The unidentified vendor is believed to have been paid around 2.5 million euros ($3.2 million).
The exchange prompted thousands to turn themselves in, hoping for a reduced punishment for tax evasion. Other German states refused to participate in the disk's purchase for ethical reasons.
Officials at Credit Suisse's Zurich headquarters confirmed the bank was working in cooperation with the authorities. The bank controls around 635 billion euros for its private customers worldwide.
Author: Thomas Sheldrick (AFP/dpa)
Editor: Martin Kuebler