MP asks if Maltese authorities will ask Germans for Dubai tax avoiders data

Germans paid €2 million for tax data from Dubai and said it would share it with other countries

Cityscape of Dubai. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons
Cityscape of Dubai. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi has filed a parliamentary question to the Prime Minister who, given parliament’s summer recess, has until October for a reply.

Azzopardi asked Robert Abela whether his government has requested the data which the German government acquired earlier this year, and making available to other countries, of EU citizens with assets hidden away in Dubai.

“We’ll see whether, until October, the government would have reassured the FATF that it is fighting tax evasion with facts,” Azzopardi said, announcing his PQ in a Facebook post. “Incidentally, can the PM gives us a guarantee that none of his Cabinet members have secret accounts in Dubai?”

Germany purchased data from an anonymous source in Dubai on millions of taxpayers worldwide in a bid to crack down on tax evasion.

The data provides information on people who own land, property and other assets in the Gulf emirate, including several thousand Germans, the ministry said in a statement. The aim is to identify tax offences such as undeclared income, assets that have been hidden from the authorities and illegal cross-border transactions, it said.

The Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) paid around €2 million for the data, according to Der Spiegel magazine.

“With this new data, we are illuminating the dark corners in which tax offenders have been hiding until now,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. “Now it is the turn of the tax investigators to track down the offenders and bring them to justice. In this way, we will ensure that everyone makes their fair contribution.”

Several German states have over the past decade bought CDs or USB memory sticks allegedly containing data on German taxpayers who had parked their fortunes in Swiss banks. Fearing prosecution, many of Germany’s rich and famous subsequently came forward to declare their hidden wealth, boosting the tax coffers of Europe’s biggest economy by billions of euros.