That, according to Holger Steltzner writing in the Wednesday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), is the amount of a “normal earner’s” income that flows to the German state in the form of direct or indirect taxes. This helps to explain the widespread practice of tax evasion in Germany, which has recently attracted international attention through the sting operations against Deutsche Post chief Klaus Zumwinkel and other German residents accused of hiding their wealth in Lichtenstein. “Moreover,” Steltzner adds,
The charges in the German cases are reportedly based on confidential account data that was stolen from the Lichtenstein-based LTG bank by a former employee and sold to the German Foreign Intelligence service, the BND, for some €4.2 million. The German finance minister, the Social Democrat Peer Steinbrück, has offered to share the data with other countries. As likewise reported in the Wednesday edition of the FAZ, however, Danish Finance Minister Kristian Jensen has already declined the offer:
Additional reporting by Peter Carstens in the FAZ suggests, moreover, that more than one informant may in fact have been involved in the BND operation and that the BND may even have used blackmail to obtain information. The BND has denied such reports.