BERLIN, June 21 German customs authorities in
the Port of Hamburg have confiscated documents that may contain
information about the accounts of suspected tax evaders, German
media reported on Saturday.
Two containers with around 14,000 documents inside were
confiscated at the end of May, with some coming from a branch of
private bank Coutts, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland
, in the Cayman Islands, newspaper Welt am Sonntag said
in an advance copy of an article due to be published on Sunday.
News magazine Focus also reported that customs authorities
confiscated a container of Coutts documents from the Cayman
Islands, which is frequently labelled as a tax haven by critics,
on May 20. Finance experts had since then been evaluating the
material, searching for evidence of tax evasion, Focus said.
A spokesperson for Coutts told Reuters: "We are not aware of
any investigation into our Trust Company or its papers and we
are working with the authorities to allow these papers to
continue on their way."
In 2012, authorities in North-Rhine Westphalia investigated
Coutts after the federal state bought a CD containing details of
German customers of Coutts, Welt am Sonntag said.
A spokeswoman for the German finance ministry said the
public prosecutors' office in Duesseldorf was the responsible
authority, adding that this case was linked to investigations
already being carried out in North-Rhine Westphalia.
She said she could not give further information on ongoing
The public prosecutors' office in Duesseldorf could not be
immediately reached for comment by Reuters.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Larry King)