German state likely to buy tax data - report

BERLIN Sun Oct 14, 2012 8:16am EDT

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BERLIN Oct 14 (Reuters) - Authorities in the German state of Rheinland-Palatinate will likely buy a computer disk containing the details of Germans who have parked their cash in a big Swiss bank, news magazine Der Spiegel said on Sunday.

Switzerland and Germany hammered out a new deal in April to confront tax evasion and Germany has promised to stop buying leaked bank data naming suspected tax cheats if a tax deal with Switzerland comes into force.

But Germany's centre-left Social Democrat (SPD) opposition has said it will block the pact in the upper house of parliament as it is too lenient on tax dodgers.

Germans hold an estimated 150 billion euros ($194.50 billion) in Swiss accounts.

Investigations to date have shown the quality of material on the disk is "excellent", the magazine cited tax investigator sources as saying.

The finance ministry of Rheinland-Palatinate was not immediately available for comment.

Carsten Kuehl, the state's finance minister, has previously said he is in favour of buying tax CDs if they are of value, the report said.

One of the SPD's criticisms of the deal with Switzerland has been that, as it stands, the agreement would allow people to evade taxes by taking their money out of Switzerland before the deal takes effect.

Some media reports have said there are signs German tax dodgers are shifting funds to Singapore from Switzerland.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in Singapore on Sunday that Germany and the Asian country had essentially agreed to amend a tax agreement first made in 2004, though he did not give any further details.

($1 = 0.7712 euros) (Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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