back to article HMRC pays criminal for 'tax dodger' discs

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is paying a German crook a reward for allegedly stolen information about bank accounts in Liechtenstein. The information is believed to relate to 100 people who between them owe the UK tax authorities more than £100m. The tiny princedom is much loved by tax dodgers for its refusal to …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Well done HMRC

    ...am so sick of whingers who say you can't pay an informant to solve a crime.

    If it's so important to these people to live in a country which observes bizarre and inappropriate levels of formality in all circumstances, then they should pay the extra unclaimed tax for the rest of us. Oh, and they can move to their own little borough where the police write nice formal letters to all criminals saying "Dear Sir, did you do it?" Then nobody will laugh at these oddballs when they shower in clerical robes and go to bed in their suits. I'm sorry, have I impugned their dignity with such unadorned use of the third person plural?

  2. M A Walters
    Coat

    Undersold

    This guy could have made a lot more money by blackmailing the people on the list. This is a very silly move, both for the seller and the buyer.

  3. michael
    Coat

    do not post them!!!

    what if these disks get lost??

  4. LPF

    Hope for that infromant

    That his or her name never gets out into the open, as there are going to be a lot of rich people, looking to hire someone to put a bullet in said informant.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    So what next,

    Many claim this guy is a whistleblower, he's actually a convicted thief. So earning £100k surely would, at least morally, conflict with the proceeds of crime act

    Now i'm wondering when the benefits cd's will appear for auction. Get permission to download the entire data set so if anybody is watching it wont raise alarms, then post it to a somewhere and sit on the data for a while. Stealing data should no longer be classed as a crime in this country, at least the government should shut up about tracking isps

    Also who decided that our laws were the correct tax laws rather than Liechtenstein's? I did like the comment from them that they treat people like adults and rather than keep asking them if they are sure they paid the right amount of tax they leave people to manage their own affairs. Well that wont happen here especially when Gordon 'Property is Theft' Brown is pretending to be in charge

    doesnt it open the uk up for foreign powers to act within their laws on our soil? maybe a few more polonium poisonings

    oh and before the mandatory 'you must be a tax evader' comment, i'm not, i'm just very against paying people to steal anything, whether you believe its for the greater good itself is irrelevant.

  6. Jonathan Schofield
    Pirate

    They need the cash

    The relationship between the taxpayer and the Inland Revenue (as was) has changed over the last ten years. They are instructed by their political masters to accrue as much as possible by fair means or foul so as to pay for the massive overspending that this government has committed us to.

    We're off to hell in a handcart.........

  7. Chris Collins

    All up front?

    Hmm, surely it should be - 10% now and the rest when we see the goods. Isn't this how the criminal underworld operates? HMRC is good for the money. He could come round with some heavies and break their legs if they don't pony up. Show HMRC pictures of Gordon and tell them they know where he lives.

  8. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    OK

    Let's see this "evidence" stand up in court.

    When HMRC itself acts like a criminal it makes the tax look like a racket. Soon people will feel it's immoral to pay the tax to this thieving Govt.

  9. Gerrit Tijhof
    Thumb Up

    Excellent

    Law is for everyone, not only for those too poor to effectively avoid it. Give those millionaires some quality time behind bars as well!

  10. Ash
    Pirate

    RIAA, MPAA; false advertising

    Piracy doesn't fund organised crime, HM Revenue and Customs does.

    Openly.

  11. David Shaw
    Thumb Down

    well...

    "Heinrich Kieber, a 42-year-old former employee, stole data ... (from) ... LGT Treuhand AG..."

    and is now believed to be in Australia

    from the Wall Street Journal

    (there was some comment on Radio France that the BND german secret police might have brought Heinrich under a witness protection program)

  12. Mike Richards

    An economy built on tax fraud and dentures

    is all I know about Liechtenstein.

    On second thoughts, does Liechtenstein actually exist? Has anyone ever been there? Has anyone ever met a Liechtensteinian? Real country or a cartographic rounding error?

  13. Karl Vernum
    Thumb Down

    Germans Ripped Off?

    The Germans should be feeling "stitched up". They paid £3m for 750 names. that's £4,000 per head.

    HMRC pays £100k for 100 names. That's £1,000 per head.

  14. Damien Jorgensen
    Gates Halo

    lol

    Oh well lucky I dont bank there lol

  15. Adam Booth
    Thumb Down

    Funding Criminal Activites

    OK, so lets take a look at this:

    Criminal Has data that HMRC want

    HMRC Fund criminal in exchange for data

    All UK Tax Payers fund HMRC

    does this mean that every tax payer in the UK is indirectly funding criminal activities?

  16. Maurice Shakeshaft
    Paris Hilton

    On the one hand, and on the other.

    I admire the HMRC - set a thief to catch a thief - but at what point does it all become rather oppressive. I'm not sure they could buy the info from a Brit and then use it in a UK Court. Will HMRC tell the German Authorities who they have paid and how much - just to keep it all square? Or will it be paid into a numbered Swiss Bank Account?

    Is PH in the list?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Hmmm...

    Let me see if I've got the facts right, here:

    Thieving bastards (incompetent government sponsored department with a track record for giving no attention to identity, privacy and data protection; who constantly change and bend tax laws); Pay another Thieving Bastard to steal private identity and financial data; from banks in a country that DOES protects the rights and privacy of other alleged Thieving Bastards?

    Hmmm... As things stand, I feel a little more support toward the "alleged" Thieving Bastards and opposed to the proven Thieving bastards.

    I wonder if Lichtenstein will be able to sue the UK government for breach of Data Privacy, Data Theft and funding criminals.

  18. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
    Flame

    Data Protection

    ok, so if they are exempt from the DP act, what about a charge of receiving stolen goods?

  19. Des Quinn
    Thumb Down

    Law is for everyone.........

    Regarding Gerrit's statement above

    "Law is for everyone, not only for those too poor to effectively avoid it. Give those millionaires some quality time behind bars as well!"

    Am I missing something or is this not the whole point....... HMRC should be obeying the law as well and not encouraging people to break the law in order for them to enforce it....

    I am sure if an employee of HMRC was selling 2 discs full of data to another government then HMRC would not be happy about it ;)

  20. Shakje

    Re: Funding Criminal Activities

    Last time I checked it was our money paying for the Iraq war...

    It's just another highly hypocritical national stance. If someone stole details from one of our banks and sold it to a foreign power what do you think our government would say? But apparently it's ok if they're a) smaller than us, b) it gets us some money. Nice.

  21. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Boffin

    Dearth of an expert witness?

    Where is the legally usable proof that will stand up in court?

    Regardless of where the records came from or how legally they were obtained or even if they are accurate; doesn't the case depend on co-operation with the bank itself?

    Everything else is third party opinion or hearsay isn't it? The tax authorities still have to go cap in hand to the dodgers to see if they can bottle the charges.

    Of course, if it supplies names and details, they can use work-arounds such as: Where did you get this and that? and: How did you pay for those? or: Where have these gone? etc.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: OK

    Re: "When HMRC itself acts like a criminal it makes tax look like a racket."

    Tax is a racket - it's a good old fashioned protection racket, pure and simple. Try not paying and see what happens to you.

    As the chancellor once said: "Don't worries - you pay on time, we'll make sure you can operate. Don't pay though - well, we'll take your business, we'll take your house and you won't see you family for three to five years. Capiche?"

  23. Francis Fish
    Stop

    They don't need proof - just a suspicion

    ... and they can freeze your assets and shut you down.

    We *do* live in a police state - they just don't bother most of the time...

    There also used to be a tradition where they would give people the benefit of the doubt sometimes - now they get paid by results - I suspect there are a lot of people who shouldn't have paid them who did so to get them off their backs.

  24. Geoff Mackenzie

    A feel a Perl script coming on

    I'm sure I could produce a list of names that I can sell to HMRC on false pretences. If they pay up front, and especially if they can't rely on the bank's co-operation, they should be an easy mark.

    Well, at least they're showing a tough approach to medium sized tax evaders. Big ones are still fine though.

    Of course, it's not news that tax money funds organised crime. Just because we call the biggest organised crime family in any given location the "Government" doesn't change their underlying nature; they extract money and enforce arbitrary rules with threats (nice liberty you have there, would be a shame if anything was to happen to it), primarily to maintain their own dominant position.

  25. Chad H.
    Flame

    tax is not criminal

    tax is what you pay to run the schools, build the roads, collect your garbage, and arrest real criminals amoungst others. What do you think life would be without all of that?

    Pay taxes, buy civilisation!

  26. Adam Foxton
    Flame

    Cue awful music...

    You Wouldn't Buy A Stolen Car.

    You Wouldn't Buy A Stolen Handbag.

    You Wouldn't Buy A Stolen Television.

    You Woudln't Buy A Stolen set of bank details.

    BANK DETAIL

    THEFT

    IS A CRIME

    -----------

    Weird how when you swap out what a lot of the populace is doing (for no money) with something the government's doing- and spending our money (that we'll never see again) to make money (that'll go to the HMRC coffers) from- that it suddenly becomes "A Good Thing" rather than " A Crime". Personally, I don't mind too much if people avoid the system that much; the people who do are the people who don't use the NHS, have private security (or at least a baseball bat and a good lawyer), and so on. So they're probably less of a burden on the taxpayer than a lot of the actual tax-leeches going about today.

    And paying a criminal to give stolen evidence that they're then going to take to court... are there no lengths the HMRC won't stoop to?! Okay, the principle is sound- pay small amount of money, get details, tax criminals to sharing-cell-with-BubbaTheBuggerer levels, etc. But they still shouldn't be paying criminals.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    unusable information

    If the bank will not confirm the records are true and they are unable to trace transfers in and out of UK banks to the Liechtenstein bank then how are they going to use the data? There is no chain of evidence or custody so the HMRC might as well say ... Mr Smith a guy in a pub told me you have not been paying your fair share of taxes.... If your names on the list just keep your mouth shut and ask for a lawyer.

    In the States they would have to produce the source of the disks in court and I am sure that Liechtenstein would promptly request he be handed over to them for prosecution

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    I think it's called "Taking it to an illogical conclusion"

    BBC News headline, tomorrow:

    MoD pays Al Quaeda £100,000,000 for "Defensive money".

    The head of the MoD explained the arrangement at a press conference in Paris: "Protection money? Who said protection money? No, it's "Defensive Money". Totally different! We pay them to ensure that there are no terrorist attacks on the UK."

  29. FlatSpot
    Unhappy

    Left out to dry...

    Not all plain sailing for the informant, this was in the Sunday Times. The guy wanted to be covered under the FBI witness protection program but was refused.

    He was given a couple of passports instead.. so its pretty likely that when the crims catch up with him he is going to get his lot.

    Reckon they could have helped him out some more, considering the perks arms dealers get :s

    Funny old world..........

  30. Paul Mitchell

    Are they still there?

    Presumably LGT Treuhand AG will have informed their customers affected, when they discovered the data loss. And it seems likely that said customers will have changed/close/moved their accounts for security reasons shortly thereafter.

    I don't suppose they thought that the perp after their bank accounts would be HMRC, but the effect is the same don't you think?

  31. MarkMac
    Flame

    Extraordinary bunch of whiners

    Some people are astonishing. They live in the UK, they expect the roads to be maintained, street lights to be lit & rubbish to be collected, they send their kids to our schools, benefit from our health service and fire brigade, are protected by our police & armed forces - and they object to being asked to pay their fair share. Perhaps they should move to, say mongolia, where the tax rate is much lower because you don't have any of that stuff.

    And as for paying informants - heck thats been going on since the dawn of time. It's disingenuous to act all outraged.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Dodgy

    There are a LOT of problems with this case:

    1) HMRC is buying STOLEN property

    2) HMRC is breaking the law in a foreign country

    3) HMRC is paying money to a CRIMINAL THIEF

    4) The THIEF has left himself exposed to the authorities in a number of countries

    5) The tax dodgers are evading tax

    6) The articles are unlikely to hold up in a UK court

    7) One rule for us, and another for someone else.

    When will people wake up to the fact that people with money and power play their own game of LAW and ORDER.

    There is no FAIR and JUST, just who has the biggest wallet and most influence.

    We see this time and time again, albeit in Labour, the Conservatives and even Lib Dem Policy...its all completel bull**** - don't get me wrong I'm no eco warrior, nor a animal rights protestor type.

    Life isn't fair, thats great for some, not great for others.

  33. Jouni Leppajarvi

    The real problem (and a solution)

    The real problem here is the existence of such tax-havens. These should be squashed as the parasites they are, feeding on tax-evasion (and money laundering for more sinister purposes) . A (plausible threat of) a trade embargo including, in particular, all financial transactions should do it nicely.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Arrest him and get your money back

    So arrest him when he steps back into Europe and get your money back. It doesn't matter that you signed a contract with him, it's not enforcible I reckon.

    If his money is in European banks, then can't it simply be seized again? Otherwise via foreign lawsuits.

    Liechtenstein should also pursue a private case for handling stolen goods again him in whatever country he is in, and get compensation from him.

    As it stands they just crossed a barrier there, paying for stolen goods, how long before they're commissioning the stealing, then dealing with more serious criminals, killers, etc. just to get information. It leaves HMRCs hands dirty here.

    And what do we do if other countries start extra-judicial attacks on us? What then? A stolen secret here or there, a dead Brit or two to get some information? What do we do then, when we've accepted the principle ourselves?

  35. Keith T

    sick and tired of the middle class having to subsidize the wealthy

    I'm glad to see somebody's government doing what it can to crack down on wealthy tax cheats.

    I'm sick and tired of the middle class having to subsidize the wealthy.

    As for criminal laws being broken, the data was obtained in Lichtenstein, I doubt the UK has a data protection treaty with Lichtenstein, the data isn't copyright, it isn't patented (its data), so what criminal law? Maybe just a violation of regulations of some sort.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tax

    These 100 'names' can basically go and fuck themselfs, tax evasion/avoidance isn't in any way a nice or clever thing to do (@Chad, I'm with you on this one). I'd be all for turning round the "no taxation without representation" to mean that people who don't pay tax don't get to use other's tax money, the trouble is they all tend to be very rich so it might not be a goer...

    As for the revenue - people shouldn't forget that they sold off all their buildings (that is OUR buildings) to a PPP outfit (Mapley UK IIRC) who are based in a fucking tax haven.

    Anyway, I'm gonig to get off my horse, because I'm getting vertigo from the height of it...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Brief rant

    Presumably, this evidence wouldnt be valid in court anyway?

    Note that banks regularly give up info to the relevant authorities at the drop of a hat e.g. if special branch asks for it then it gets it! The paper work is minimal. So Gordon - and the rest of the vampire club (bleeding us dry) - is used to having the easy life here where they just do anything they want with no fear of repercussions. They were probably a bit miffed at having to actually pay for something.

    Note also that HMRC/Customs&Excise pull a few fast ones particularly re:property to avoid paying tax. As far as I am concerned, selling Customs property off via offshore company to avoid paying tax is just as bad as people using Liechtenstein accounts. Check out Mapeley....

    £100million? Gordon and his cronies spend that each week on spin lessons.

    Am getting far too cynical in my old age...will get my coat...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Would they pay Black Hats to break in and get the same info?

    Sounds a bit unusual... paying for illegally (?) obtained information.

    If some Black Hat's (hackers) offered the same kind of information, i.e. another 100 million pounds of tax evaders, would they pay them to break into Liechtenstein banks?

    "Of course not" doesn't sound like the answer in reality here.

    Doesn't sound like good leadership involved.

  39. Ed Yelland
    Gates Horns

    ironic

    HMRC loses data and everyone worries that someone will buy it.

    Meanwhile a bank in Lichtenstein loses data, and everyone's happy that HMRC bought it.

  40. Mike

    We want what is ours....

    @MarkMac

    People aren't astonishing at all, they are stupid, they don't realise that the government don't have money, they merely invest and redistribute the money from their people (us), what have the Romans ever done for us?

    If, and "if" is the word here, if there are people that are evading tax which should be paid to support the UK then it is reasonable to try to obtain it, as Lichtenstein refuse to aid the UK in this then it's not unreasonable to steal it, do two wrongs make a right? well, if I and other UK tax payers have to pay more than our fair share because of these criminals then damn straight it's right.

  41. Sid

    @MarkMac

    Some people are astonishing, they don't read the comments before whinging about everybody whinging :)

    I haven't read anything about anyone objecting to paying for road repairs, street lighting, NHS etc...

    But is it whinging, when they see money spent on unnecessary War? or the Million or so pounds spent on the Super Casino, thats now wasted? or all the money being spent on unnecessary ID Cards etc...?

    I think the crux of this story is what has already been mentioned, that the Government are now prepared to pay criminals a lot of money to get information, this is a bad precedent, where will this end? Paying Kids to grass their parents up?

  42. DR
    Thumb Up

    @AC

    "Also who decided that our laws were the correct tax laws rather than Liechtenstein's?"

    our government decided our tax laws were right and correct, Lichensteins government decided that theirs were correct.

    those who want to live by the law of Lichenstien should go live in Lichenstein,

    those who choose to live in the UK should obey the UK laws, even when it costs them money.

    I don't fully agree with paying criminals for money, but paying one crooks to catch a hundred doesn't seem all that bad. (of course it is really)

  43. Graham Marsden
    Pirate

    No safe place...

    > It should now be clear to everyone that there is no safe hiding place for the proceeds of tax evasion.

    And what about a "safe hiding place" for all the DNA and ID and Registration Number and so on data that our Government wants to collect from us?

    I wonder how much some lowly clerk on the UK's National Identity Database would have to be paid to copy it all off onto a few CDs and bung it over to another interested party...?!

  44. Norbury
    Stop

    Not valid? Why not?

    Why do people think that this wouldn't stand up in a UK court? Because they don't like the idea? The police have been paying informants since the police force began, and their info has been used in many court cases. It rather depends on what the data is, not how it was obtained. Anyone here know what the information is? Thought not. For all anyone here knows it's the full evidence chain for every one of these tax-dodging parasites.

  45. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    To those who whine about wealthy not paying their fair share of tax

    Tax evasion becomes really endemic when the the tax regime becomes too oppressive, convoluted, biased and/or unstable. Our current tax regime meets all of the above definitions, so expect evasion to become more and more prolific.

    Please note that "tightening the screws" is maybe OK from the populist point of view but there is no such thing as a free lunch - you upset the situation and the country as a whole will pay for it. How? By pushing capital, business, professionals away - you will end up collecting even less tax.

    Also remember that the recent HMRC tax scramble is the direct result of the decade of economic mismanagement and wastage perpetrated by NuLabour Govt. They are running out of cash and are desperate to get it from somewhere, disregarding the consequences. So if you think it's only the rich who are affected - think again.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's a lead, not evidence

    It's irrelevant whether the stolen disc could be used as evidence in court because a disc with names on it doesn't prove anything anyway. Obviously the people named will have to be investigated at great length and that investigation will, perhaps, produce evidence. The disc doesn't even need to be mentioned in court.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward

    "Tax is a racket - it's a good old fashioned protection racket, pure and simple. Try not paying and see what happens to you."

    By that logic, everything is a racket. "Listen, see? You like this phone service you got? It's pretty nice phone service. You know... it'd be a shame if something happened to it. A real cryin' shame, you know?"

    Or, on approaching the cash register at the supermarket, "Those are some nice veggies you got there... Yeah, nice and fresh. You wouldn't... you wouldn't want to just walk out of here with those veggies, would you? Something could happen. You could fall down in the street. Maybe you should come over here..."

    Jackass.

  48. Terry
    Thumb Down

    Re: Brief Rant

    "Presumably, this evidence wouldnt be valid in court anyway?"

    They probably wouldn't use it in court. What it does give them is a list of names to start investigating.

  49. Jimmy

    @Chad

    Correct. This is the generally accepted understanding of why we pay taxes. However, thanks to our beloved leader, Gordon (Greed is Good) Brown, there is a special category of people who are exempt from these obligations to contribute to the social infrastructure of the country. To qualify for this exemption you must be a non-domiciled billionaire whose very presence on our soil is somehow supposed to transform our whole economy. Gordon likes to refer to this as trickle-down economics but for most people it just feels like we are being pissed on. No change there, then.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    non-doms

    Apparently --

    > there is a special category of people who are exempt

    > from these obligations to contribute to the social infrastructure

    > of the country

    Being a non-dom doesn't mean you pay no UK tax. You pay tax on money earned in the UK, and on earnings remitted to the UK. A non-dom just doesn't pay tax on money earned overseas that stay overseas.

    Any random person, regardless of earnings, who works in the UK but is domiciled overseas is a non dom. If they have (eg) a bank a/c earning interest in their home country, they are not liable for tax on the interest unless that interest is remitted to the UK. But if they work for McD's on Croydon, they'll be paying PAYE tax. If they have a UK bank a/c, they'll pay tax on that (UK) interest.

    Why _should_ they pay tax on money which has no relevance to the UK at all?

    The vast majority of non-doms are most likely not billionaires; and let's face it, billionaires can just hire someone clever to find some other way of paying (almost) no tax.

    But that Italian guy working ffor a few years in the UK with some savings back in Italy, savings he wants to use when he returns to die/ marry/ settle down/ whatever? You'll get him, for sure. But it won't provide $MILLIONS for the Treasury. You just made the Italian's tax filing much more complicated, and given some HMRC monkey more paperwork to check, that's all.

  51. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    @Jimmy

    What is you are a non-domiciled expat working in a UK bank or lawfirm? All of a sudden you are made a criminal liable to pay £30k per year just because you have not been born here? Or if you don't like that then suddenly you need to declare the sale of your appartment in Sverdlovsk to Gordon so that he could tax you on that? WTF for?

    Would you like that if you were a UK expat working in Moscow?

    Instead of collecting more money Gordon will end up losing the qualified expat work force and have it replaced by illegal immigrants who don't care about no fines or disclosures - they don't have no £30k and they are illegal anyway.

  52. Andy S

    re: It's a lead, not evidence

    Exactly.

    It's not enough that the Revenue know there are people in the UK who keep all their money in a tax haven, they actually need to know who they are. Once they do, hey can investigate them.

    If this disk say Mr X has £7 Billiion in a account in lichenstein and earns several hunder thousand in interest every month, they simply start looking closely at Mr X's income and expediture. If he can't account for where his money is coming from, they slap him with a money laundering charge. If he can acoutn for where its coming from, then it's a simpekl matter to check the tax paid on that income.

  53. Ed
    Joke

    Woohoo!

    I just applied for a DBA job in Liechtenstein.

  54. Paul
    Flame

    dear register reader

    Dear El Register Reader.

    I am the solicitor for some very wealthy people who wish to move their money to a safe bank account and need your help with this £100M. All I require from you is to pay some fees into....

  55. Mark Barnes
    Happy

    No case to answer

    Considering that the information has came from a non reputable source then the HMRC should expect an absolute hammering in the courts. Fact is, if Lichenstein refuses to verify the accounts then basically all the HMRC have in their possession is a bunch of names and account numbers with a monetry value that could have been made from pure fiction as far as anyone else is concerned.

    Anyone can obtain account numbers against names and then make up a bunch of figures claiming that these are authentic accounts. The only downer is if there is a transaction history with the accounts and this corresponds to transaction information that the HMRC have in their possession - if not, the HMRC are on a high road to nothing.

    Mark

  56. Cameron Colley

    RE: tax is not criminal et al.

    So, forcing people to pay for cluster bombs to be dropped where children play isn't criminal?

    The "Schools, street lighting and police" are partially paid for by council tax anyhow, and last I saw our healthcare system was one of the worst in the developed world.

    I wonder if the two above things are linked?

    Anyone who thinks that our current system of taxation is in any way just is deluded.

    As an example, I suspect a great many people who fall under the 40% tax bracket will have private healthcare, and a good many of the higher earners will send their children to private schools. The really rich will likely have security gates and lots of locks and alarms -- the richer still will have their own security teams. So, how exactly is it morally justified that these people pay more than you or I in tax, when they don't take any money out?

    Personally I think the people who don't pay the thieves in government by using offshore banks should be looked up to for being self-sufficient enough not to have to.

    Oh, the difference between tax and, for instance, a phone company is that you can choose to have a phone or not, and choose which company you pay.

  57. Eleanor Rigby
    Paris Hilton

    @ MarkMac

    "Some people are astonishing. They live in the UK, they expect the roads to be maintained, street lights to be lit & rubbish to be collected, they send their kids to our schools, benefit from our health service and fire brigade, are protected by our police & armed forces - and they object to being asked to pay their fair share. Perhaps they should move to, say mongolia, where the tax rate is much lower because you don't have any of that stuff."

    Or move to Switzerland, where taxes are lower and ALL of the above mentioned stuff runs BETTER than in the UK. My company pays 10% here - this I find acceptable.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    You people really are missing the point...

    You have a Criminal that has stolen private data.

    He sells a little bit of that data to the Germans.

    He sells a little bit of that data to the HMRC.

    Then what? He has loads of data and numerous persons from numerous different nationalities...

    So...

    He sells a little bit of data to some organized crime gangs in where-ever...

    He sells a little bit of data to the Chinese government about a dissident group.

    He sells a little bit of data to the Burmese government...

    ...

    Not everyone that wants to store their money in a PRIVATE account is a criminal tax-dodger.

    Those that support this behaviour are opening the door to something much bigger and worse.

  59. Herby Silver badge

    You know why this happened...

    It was because the local bank official was stuck using a Curta Calculator, not some modern Windoze thing. He got frustrated in the accuracy of the older calculation methods, and didn't have the ability to "fudge" the numbers.

    Now if I can find the one I bought back 38 years ago that is somewhere in my sisters house. It is probably worth a fortune (*SIGH*).

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    @Cameron Colley

    I agree 100%. The stone-cold fact is that tax in this country, for the majority of the working populace, is NOT voluntary - it is taken from your earnings BEFORE you receive them, not afterwards.

    So yes, it is like a racket. And, on top of that, never mind the rubbish in the tabloids about the tax you pay being "your money" - it's not your money it's HM Govt.'s money, and they can do with it as they please.

    This government collects billions in tax from: Road Fund Tax, duty on fuel, VAT on fuel, 4% tax on car insurance, income tax, NI, corporation tax, and countless other taxes and duties. Many of these have forced hauliers and other businesses to close or reloate abroad.

    What do they spend it on? War. Giving breaks to arms companies (the Export Credit Guarantee costs £3Bn+ every year). Mismanaged projects like the Millenium Dome, Wembley Stadium to name a few. Oh yeah, and traffic cameras.

    Yet our transport systems are a shambles and the roads are full of potholes, with councils paying compensation out to owners of pothole-damaged vehicles. Army lads have to buy their own kit, and the police can't cope with the crime on the streets.

    I don't think people would mind paying tax so much, if they could see it was being used properly. It isn't.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Missing the point?

    So, AC, who uses a Lichtenstein account without trying to evade taxes? Is there any other good reason for it - unless you live there of course :) ?

    I don't see this guy as a criminal: he stole data about criminals from people who at the very least encourage crime. Dangerous job - good on him!

    Personally, I'm not sure the payback is worth the risk in his case, unless he's sold it to a lot of other people too...

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Greener greenbacks on the other side

    Quite a few people have taken issue with UK tax rates. Maybe they should try the good ol' US of A. Their income tax is appeallingly low and sales tax is typically 6-7% or nothing at all. Pretty good!

    But... they have lots of other little taxes which all add up. My US ex-boss whined that overall he paid 50% of his considerable income in taxes. Pretty steep for such a tax conscious nation. They don't even have an NHS! Must be all those F-22s and B-2s they keep buying.

  63. BitTwister

    @Gerrit Tijhof

    > Law is for everyone

    ...except HMRC it seems, which is happy to pay a criminal for stolen data. Maybe some storm troopers should have been recruited to stun-grenade the bank, so the details could have been stolen directly?

  64. Nigee

    and next

    It could be argued that L'stein's national policy of supporting tax evasion in other countries is an unfriendly act. Clearly this makes them fair game for assorted intelligence services.

    What's really interesting is the names have the Germans got, ie non-German foreigners from the shadier spots to the East and South.

  65. heystoopid
    Black Helicopters

    Interesting

    Interesting application of using the standard police tactics of the old paid criminal snout plus the anti terrorism laws to gain information that the German Criminal Fraud Police have already paid for to start a renewed attempt to collar tax fraudsters !

    This is virtually an admission that the Goods and Services tax is a dismal failure and the honest ones were slugged a hefty increase tax burden to allow the cheats and fraudsters to still escape most of that burden !

    Since , after the Arar case , think of how co-operative one would become if threatened being declared a non person with zero rights , to be incarcerated in places like "GITMO" or the European equivalents operating in countries such as Poland and Romania , or the even more brutal ones in Syria , Egypt and Ethiopia . Given those alternatives who would not sell their own mother for a peseta !

    This case also used the so called back door warrant less A-T laws to tap all communications of any Bank , organization or individual by being suspected of terrorist cell links merely moving large blocks of dirty cash around in one door and cleaner version out another !

    Now since the police get to designate suspected targets for closed cell investigation and the advent of modern technology to either tap into multiple phone and data communications with ease for long periods of time , with minimal man power !

    But then again , by the massive expanding of all the powers of police demanded to chase detain and hold in secrecy suspected dark side agents was the so called war on terror really a double blind to allow Police forces around the world with a new double edged sword to chase after real criminals and tax fraudsters with a suit of powers that many a Parliament in the past refused to issue point blank as it meant the assumption person innocent or otherwise which escaped past nets due to lack of valid proof , was now guilty of all crimes prior to being caught in the act as is the usual standard of innocence prior to proof of guilt upheld in a court of law.

    Choices ?

  66. Steve Browne
    Pirate

    I am absolutely appalled

    Once again, dual standards are imposed by so many people here.

    If we are to obey the laws imposed on us, then the powers that be must also obey the laws too. The end does not justify the means as there is never a greater good. You cannot claim to be upholding the law if you are breaking it in doing so. It is not an argument that any magistrate or judge will listen to and I see no reason for HMRC or anyone else to be permitted to go around stealing.

    While tax evasion may be a problem, engaging in criminal activity in a foreign country is no way to behave. Either we have laws and standards of behaviour or we do not. Though, I would never expect this shabby government to lead by example, I am rather surprised at a lot of the support for HMRC involving itself in theft.

    Perhaps we can have a new organisation, they could wear brown shirts in honour of our great leader, they could spy on everyone, parents, friends, teachers ...

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    One set of rules for them and one for the rest of us.

    Strangely the ABC [Australian] news this morning reported that the Australian Tax Office was investigating over 200 'wealthy' Australians regarding their tax affairs in Lichtenstein. It's like a club for tax officers, one gets a good idea and the rest follow.

    I suspect that having purchased the information, HMRC are now selling their info onto other interested tax authorities. In addition we also have to ponder on the proposed UK ID system whereby any of our personal information can be sold and sold on again and used against us.

  68. Nigel

    No Wonder There's So Much Tax Evasion In The UK...

    ...When the average UK citizen gives over 50% of their earnings away in various taxes: Income Tax, NI, VAT, Fuel, Alcohol tax, stamp duty, council tax, insurance tax, holiday tax, car tax etc etc.

    Its gotten bloody ridiculous

    Nigel

  69. Jeff Deacon
    Thumb Down

    Its just a sign of the times, alas!

    Those who are worried about the inclination of the Inland Revenue part of HMRC to pay criminals for information should be aware that they are only catching up with the practices of the former Customs & Excise part. They all now have almost unfettered power under RIPA, so indeed by asking one of their senior managers, they can award themselves the authority to break in, bug or other surveillance, steal what they wish. They will witter on about abiding by the law, but the law gives them so much power that they have no need to break it!

  70. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    RE: Missing the point

    "So, AC, who uses a Lichtenstein account without trying to evade taxes? Is there any other good reason for it - unless you live there of course :) ?"

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons to keep money away from your country of residence. In the UK every tax payer has rights - tested and upheld in courts - to optimise their taxation and to avoid paying excess tax.

    In addition, you may prefer to keep your after-tax savings in another jurisdiction to safegard them in case your own country is taken over by morons/fashists/communists/religious extremists/trade unionists/feminists/NuLabourists or any other -ists who would want to steal your savings..

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    @Missing the point?

    "So, AC, who uses a Lichtenstein account without trying to evade taxes?"

    The same people that use Swiss accounts, Cayman Island accounts etc...

    Higher Interest Rates and "PRIVACY".

    That doesn't make them criminals.

    There are thousands of perfectly legal tax dodges that can be used - it is one of the reasons that goal posts keep moving every year and the reason that Tax Lawyers and Tax accountants can make fortune.

    Aside from that bunch of FS savvy bankers, there is also those people that just want some PRIVACY and don't want the government shoving the fat greedy snout in all their affairs.

  72. Maty
    Thumb Down

    fair?

    Perhaps the problem is not that people don't think that they shouldn't pay tax, but that there's a growing feeling that tax is not being collected fairly or spent reasonably.

    Everyone is in favour of taxes that pay for a decent health and police service, but one gets the feeling that taxes are someting collected by a greedy bunch of incompetent muckwits and passed to another bunch of dittos to piss away. We've seen the taxes go up, but the improved services we thought we were getting don't seem to have happened.

    Until the sentiment that the tax department is unfair, complicated and incompetent has been dispelled, there will be those who see no reason to give the government more money to waste. Watching Her Majesty's Revenue conspire with criminals to steal data does not exactly help to inspire confidence. Is tax collection is a game in which the biggest crook wins? If so, it's a game anyone can play.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Pure as the Driven Snow......

    Nice to know that HMRC themselves have placed their own property - offices and buildings - in a non-tax-paying company, Mapely Steps, set up in a tax haven in the Caribbean.

    Mapely's head office operates through a tax-efficient offshore structure based in the tax-haven Channel Island of Guernsey.

    Remember this when you laud the HMRC's efforts to catch tax-dodgers.

    Keywords: Tax-efficient; non-tax-paying; tax-haven; set a thief to catch a thief.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Liechtenstein

    I did actually drive there once, it's uphill from Switzerland, but when I got to the top , near the post office(*) and the pub(*), I found it was raining. (*) Liechtenstein as well as banking makes money from Philately and Beer, as I visited on a Sunday I think the pub was shut. Avoid Vaduz in the rain on a Sunday.

    The informant, in this case, we'll call him codename "Heinrich Kieber" allegedly became upset by seeing large amounts of cash swilling around the bank, so emailed for a few months the German Secret Police saying that he wished to give some free information! He did not want paying for the data DVD's. Possibly the BND forced him to accept €4.2M. if he'd used HD-DVD's.....

    Also allegedly codename "Heinrich Kieber" many years ago ran a property swindle in Spain, netting €600K , which he later had to pay to Argentinean kidnappers who held him the jungle for months as ransom, his bank refusing to help release an employee.

    When I lived in Geneva it was the DGSE (French Secret Service) who had agents stationed outside most banks in the Helvetic Confederation, all French citizens entering a bank were biometrically analysed and soon processed to the point of becoming a tax-payer again! Germany is just doing a bit of catching-up!

    by the way, the Swiss (nice people) take their financial non-disclosure laws EXTREMELY seriously if not PREJEDICIOUSLY seriously. message will TERMINATE.

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