Swiss tax spy fined after German verdict – expat guide to Switzerland

Swiss prosecutors have fined a man already convicted in Germany for spying on German tax officials for attempted economic espionage, media reported Thursday.

After a multi-year investigation, the Swiss prosecution found a 58-year-old Swiss national guilty of attempting to obtain and sell the bank details of a senior German official, RTS reported.

The ruling, released on November 1, came after the man, Daniel Moser, was convicted in another spy case in Germany four years ago, which sparked outrage there and put to test the links between Berlin and Bern.

RTS said last month’s decision showed that between 2014 and 2015, Moser, at the request of a German journalist, unearthed data that he said involved Swiss bank accounts held by the former chief of staff. German secret service August Hanning.

He had hired a security specialist to help him get Hanning’s banking information.

Not knowing that the three documents provided by the specialist were false, he handed them over to the journalist and was compensated in the amount of 150,000 euros ($ 170,000).

That money came from a fourth person – a German private investigator – who ended up alerting Swiss authorities to the case, RTS said.

In its decision, the OAG reportedly admitted that he was guilty of attempted espionage, whether or not the documents it transmitted were fake.

However, she could not determine whether he wanted the information to go beyond the simple journalist to reach a foreign intelligence service or a private company.

In total, he was slapped with 63,000 Swiss francs ($ 68,000, 60,000 euros) in penalties, RTS said.

The case comes after Moser was convicted in Germany in 2017 of espionage after compiling information on officials tasked by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia to uncover wealth hidden in Swiss banks.

In this case, he was given a suspended prison sentence and a fine following a plea bargain in which he admitted the spy operation and appointed his Swiss spy masters.

During his trial, the former police officer, who also worked as a security guard at Swiss banking giant UBS, told the German court that he was paid 28,000 euros between 2011 and 2013 for espionage work.

Switzerland was seeking the identities of three German tax officials, hoping to build a case against them for illegally obtaining bank data that was protected by the country’s long-standing strict secrecy laws.

Swiss banks were under intense pressure at the time as several German states sought to buy data on German taxpayers who had parked their fortunes across the border.

Fearing legal action, many rich and famous Germans subsequently stepped forward to declare their hidden wealth, increasing the tax coffers of Europe’s largest economy by billions of euros.

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