I read about the UK striking a deal to buy the stolen bank data in the tax evasion battle.
Apparently Britain is to buy data stolen from a Swiss bank in its bid to track down more tax evaders.
The Government has contacted German tax authorities about the possibility of paying them for information received by a Swiss informant.
Germany is said to have received approval from the Government lawyers last week to pay a Swiss informant for a disc containing information on some 1,500 account holders.
So it is quite obvious that Germany are quite happy to deal with thieves providing they can get information on so-called tax evaders.
It doesn’t matter whether or not the Swiss guy, or whoever it was, that stole it from the Swiss company has broken the law. They are quite happy to re-compensate him for his time and effort and give him a considerable profit on the overall deal.
Presumably they are not too worried about whether the Swiss informant is going to pay tax on that payment providing they can get information on their own tax evaders.
Now it goes further. HM Revenue and Customs believe there may be British taxpayers amongst the names contained on the disc so they have approached the Germans about buying information about their own citizens contained on the disc.
So all these high profiles statements about the disgrace of not paying proper tax, tax evaders and everything else gets sullied surely by us preparing to pay thieves to get the information we require on tax evaders and to reward them generously for that.
Now I know, whilst dealing with the American tax authorities, if that sort of thing came up in the States, the information obtained would not legally be enforceable through the courts of law.
The Americans are very touchy about information being obtained through illegitimate means and therefore denying that information to be brought before the courts.
Now it does seem that Matrix, the Human Rights Chambers that Cherie Blair set up a few years ago, might possibly come up with some defence under the Human Rights Act about obtaining, in fact illegally obtaining, this information and thereby trying to prosecute some of these tax evaders.
No doubt the tax evaders will try to pay off the liabilities and do a deal. But what about the ones that say ‘no, push off, you’ve obtained it illegally and if you want to prosecute me then go ahead and prosecute me because I contend my Human Rights have been abused’.
Certainly the apparent willingness of the British Government through HMRC to obtain this information, through these sorts of means, leaves a nasty taste in the mouth although somebody might say ‘well, there we are. We have to use certain means that are not quite legal, in fact they are totally illegal, to obtain a result’.
It goes back to Nuremburg when the German war criminals said they were only obeying orders.
Where does it stop?
To my mind I think it is absolutely disgusting that we should even be participating in these sorts of engagements and obviously encouraging other thieves throughout the world because the people who are stealing this information are not doing it for the good of man, they are doing it so they can put huge amounts of money in their pockets.
To me it is absolutely disgraceful but, after the Liechtenstein bank affair two years ago, are we at all surprised?