Suspicions Cast over Bulgarians' Swiss Banks Plan

Business » FINANCE | March 7, 2010, Sunday // 17:13
Bulgaria: Suspicions Cast over Bulgarians' Swiss Banks Plan A file photo shows the exterior view of the building of the HSBC Bank at the quai Wilson in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo by EPA/BGNES

Bulgaria's tax authorities will find it difficult to bring to justice those tax evaders, who hold about EUR 200 M in Swiss banks as revealed by a stolen disk of Swiss banking data bought by Germany, a financial expert claims.

“The names of the people with Swiss accounts who may have evaded taxation will hardly be revealed so that the tax authorities here are able to press them with questions about the origin of the money and the unpaid taxes,” former Deputy Finance Minister and tax expert Atanas Katsarchev, told the Bulgarian National Radio on Sunday.

Earlier in the week the Bulgaria's revenue agency chief said a stolen disk of Swiss banking data bought by Germany has revealed that Bulgarian tax evaders held about EUR 200 M in banks in Liechtenstein and Switzerland.

Krasimir Stefanov arrived in the German capital Friday to consult the stolen disc containing the names of 1,500 Swiss account holders who may have defrauded their country's tax authorities.

Germany had agreed to share the data with Bulgaria, Stefanov said, adding that on his return he would consult the Bulgarian finance ministry on further steps to be taken against tax cheats.

According to Katsarchev it is much more important that Switzerland has no intention to confirm information about bank accounts, provided that its sources are not legitimate.

“Here we are talking about a stolen disk,” Katsarchev said, describing the move as “pure propaganda” and “a preventive measure”.

“When the tax authorities announce such steps a certain number of people react to this and go to declared their incomes,” he said.

About a dozen alleged tax fraudsters had already asked if they could voluntarily turn themselves in, according to local media reports.

The government is yet to decide whether it would allow these people to pay their taxes and avoid other sanctions. Otherwise they face up to eight years in jail.

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Tags: Switzerland, Germany, taxation, swiss banks, accounts, NAP, Krasimir Stefanov, National Revenue Agency, NRA

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