BERLIN, March 14 Germany's centre-left deputy
chancellor hailed the jail sentence for tax evasion handed to
Bayern Munich soccer boss Uli Hoeness and said the directors of
Swiss banks that hide such funds should be hauled before the
"I hope we will now reach a new level in the fight against
tax evasion," Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats (SPD) said
in an interview published on Friday, when asked about Hoeness's
3-1/2-year jail term for evading 27.2 million euros in taxes.
"It has become a regular business model to move millions in
profits from speculative business to Switzerland, where they are
not taxed," Gabriel, who is also German economy minister, told
the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper.
"We should therefore force the Swiss banks to disclose
everything. It would be better still if some of the bank
directors who aid and abet such huge tax evasion were to stand
before the courts the same way," said Gabriel.
The SPD, coalition partners of Chancellor Angela Merkel's
conservatives since the end of last year, have long campaigned
for a crackdown on German tax dodgers using Swiss bank accounts.
When it was in opposition in Merkel's previous term the SPD
blocked a tax deal with Switzerland arguing that it did not go
far enough as it would have protected the anonymity of German
bank account holders.
(Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by Catherine Evans)