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Liechtenstein Court Awards Payout To Former LGT Trust Client In Stolen Data Case

Tom Burroughes, Editor , London, 9 February 2010

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As Germany steps up its plan to buy stolen Swiss bank data, a Liechtenstein court has awarded millions of euros in damages to a tax evader, who complained notification about the stolen data came too late, according to Deutsche Welle.

Liechtenstein trust company LGT Treuhand must pay a former client €7.3 million (around $10 million) in damages because bankers failed to notify him about stolen data in time, the high court in the capital Vaduz said, according to the publication.

The plaintiff is a property developer from Bad Homburg, Germany, who claimed that he could have declared himself to German authorities had he known, and avoided a more costly fine for tax fraud.

Details in the case, which was brought against LGT in 2008, were just released to the parties last week. But the decision came down in early January. The property developer had asked for €13 million but the court awarded €7.3 million.

The lawsuit took place after it emerged that a former employee of Liechtenstein's biggest bank had stolen data on client accounts in the Alpine banking haven and sold them to the German secret service.

Germany, the UK and possibly other countries have used, or sought to use, stolen bank data from LGT. In recent days, Germany has moved to buy stolen Swiss private bank data, a move that has led to a diplomatic row between Germany and Switzerland. The use of such data highlights the extent to which countries are willing to ride roughshod over traditional legal constraints in their hunt for alleged tax evaders.

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