Germany gives Greece 10,000 records on possible tax cheats who used Swiss bank accounts

BERLIN – Germany has shared some 10,000 records on possible Greek tax cheats with Athens.

Authorities in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia say the records concern Greek individuals and companies who had almost 4 billion Swiss francs stashed in Swiss bank accounts.

Bank secrecy rules in Switzerland long made it easy for foreigners to hide money there. In recent years the country has signed several agreements pledging to co-operate with foreign tax authorities.

The state’s finance minister, Norbert Walter-Borjans, said in a statement Wednesday that the data might help Greece achieve “more tax honesty.”

Switzerland has criticized the use of the records by foreign governments, arguing that the data was illegally obtained.