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Liechtenstein clerk steals banking info on tax cheats...

... and sells it to other countries tax departments for reward.

Apparently (who knew?) Lichtenstein is a favorite destination for money of rich folks looking to avoid taxes. It's banking system is apparently quite secretive... except, of course, in the hands of a disgruntled computer tech. It appears that just such a tech, named Heinrich Kieber walked off with tons of data from Liechtenstein LGT Group, a bank owned by Lichtenstein's ruling family. He then sold that data to a variety of countries to help those countries find and arrest tax cheats. This turned out to be quite lucrative for Kieber. For example, the US offers such "whistle blowers" 30% of whatever tax money they recover. Germany apparently paid him somewhere between $6 million and $7.3 million for the info.

Now, the thing that disturbs me about this story... is the fact that the US government is paying for stolen property. I'm not throwing any personal judgment into whether the guy's intentions are "good" or my thoughts about tax evasion. My thought is this. These secretive bank practices that protect people who want to "store" their money their are apparently completely legal and above board in the nation of Liechtenstein. Consequently, what the computer tech did was outright theft of banking records. This would logically mean that the US is buying stolen goods when it pays for the info. Last time I checked, Liechtenstein was no part of any "Axis of Banking Evil" so how is this anything more than the US actively supporting the violation of a sovereign nation's legal system?

What is your take on this?

BTW... at the rate of giving the whistle blower 30% of recovered tax money - US IRS SOP - this guy could literally get hundreds of millions of dollars as a reward for his theft of banking records. I wonder if we will also be giving him legal sanctuary from Liechtenstein laws? US citizenship, too?

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?????

In reply to: Liechtenstein clerk steals banking info on tax cheats...

Just because it is "legal" in Liechtenstein, does not mean it's legal for an American citizen to do.

Much the same as many American laws, if and when this person is convicted (in Liechtenstein) he may have to surrender all gains from his crimes.

Will America protect this guy? I hope not.

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It appears...

In reply to: ?????

It appears that he testified at a Congressional hearing, and was put in the Witness Protection program. If that is so, I guess you could say that we are protecting him.

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For now we might be

In reply to: It appears...

After the hearings, boot him back to Europe.

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If we did that...

In reply to: For now we might be

If we did that, it could mess up the Witness Protection offered in the future. We have used that offer to get people like organized crime figures to testify. "Sammy the Bull" comes to mind.

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The"bull" is a bad example

In reply to: If we did that...

Most of these people commit crimes, get caught and then make a deal. Was this guy caught or was he just doing business selling the data?

So far I think it stinks.

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As I remember...

In reply to: The"bull" is a bad example

As I remember, they were after Gotti and got Gotti on tape ordering a hit on Sammy the Bull. They didn't have the goods on Sammy, but they played the tape for him and offered him protection if he would turn on Gotti.
I guess you could draw a parallel by saying that they didn't have the goods on the tax cheats, but when they got the info from Germany they offered the source of that info protection if he would turn on the tax cheats.

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The "Bull"

In reply to: As I remember...

was arrested by the FBI, confessed to 19 murders and got 5 years for racketeering. NOT a great deal for the public interests.

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The details...

In reply to: The "Bull"

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they got the info from Germany

In reply to: As I remember...

which 'they' are you talking about?

.,

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Some news stories...

In reply to: they got the info from Germany

Some news stories use the term "tax authorities". The hearing was by the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

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Did we pay...

In reply to: Liechtenstein clerk steals banking info on tax cheats...

I looked into the story, and after doing that wonder if the U.S. paid anything. The AP story said:
"Investigations linked to LGT have been launched in a number of countries since German authorities obtained in February the CD-ROM of some 1,400 alleged tax cheats with accounts at the bank that Liechtenstein says Kieber leaked. Germany has since passed the file to other countries, including the United States.".
Also something else I saw was that they also passed it along to Italy, and the Italian authorities published the entire list.

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you paid

In reply to: Did we pay...

Keiber then sold the information to tax authorities in 12 countries, including the U.S, hence the whole "secret location" thing.

Kieber reportedly sold three CD's full of names and data to tax authorities to 12 countries including Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy and the United States


the way i read it, he already got his money, the 30% (from the IRS) will be an added bonus


.,

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The AP story said...

In reply to: you paid

The AP story said:
"Investigations linked to LGT have been launched in a number of countries since German authorities obtained in February the CD-ROM of some 1,400 alleged tax cheats with accounts at the bank that Liechtenstein says Kieber leaked. Germany has since passed the file to other countries, including the United States.".

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The ABC story said we paid for it.

In reply to: The AP story said...

That was yesterday, so the coverage may have changed.

I suspect the real facts may never be known... just to avoid this kind of debate on a larger, international scale.

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Exactly...

In reply to: The ABC story said we paid for it.

Exactly, different stories, different information. Who knows what actually happened? It may be a case like the story about ethanol using 75 percent of the corn crop. You get one news organization reporting on the report of another, and yet another reporting on that. 2nd hand to 3rd hand to 4th hand etc., etc.
One of the pains when you work for the news media is getting confirmation of facts. It seems to me that it's different than it was wen I was in that racket. It seems that sometimes being first can overshadow the need for confirmation. Also sometimes something seen on the internet from who knows what source is confirmation to some people. All you can do is open a lot of oysters and hope you manage to find a pearl (grin).

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He committed treason.

In reply to: Liechtenstein clerk steals banking info on tax cheats...

He should receive the punishment for treason too.

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The United States is a sovereign country. It is not governed

In reply to: Liechtenstein clerk steals banking info on tax cheats...

by the laws of Liechtenstein. As a sovereign country, it is free to decide to accept information about lawbreaking from whatever source it chooses. What did you think whistleblowers are doing? They are stealing information from organizations that "own" that information.

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to accept or not to accept, that is the question

In reply to: The United States is a sovereign country. It is not governed

or should that be "is this information i see before me, its price tag towards my breast"


.,

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If what worries you...

In reply to: to accept or not to accept, that is the question

If what worries you is the "price tag", the U.S. could cite the information that Italy published, they published it all. It's hard to say what the U.S. paid, ABC said the U.S. paid the leaker for it, the AP said that Germany paid for it and passed the info long to the U.S.
Italy published it, giving it to everyone.

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Accept, stumble upon, be given as in a gift or free...

In reply to: The United States is a sovereign country. It is not governed

... or even initiate an independent legal investigation into the alleged tax law offenders. Any of these is acceptable to me.

Paying money to a thief for stolen goods just because it is a convenient way to suport your personal interests ?

Let me ask you this KP... what do you think should be done with the people who take a picture off the internet to make an icon ? I remember a few years ago, you raking me over the coals on the graphics forum for telling someone how to get a free copy of the GIMP to modify a picture - remove a watermark - of a soccer sports star. You said that any use of a photo that you had no legal right to was outright theft more or less. Given that viewpoint... how do you reconcile your position here ?

here is a link to that post of yours I mentioned... LINK

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Do banks..

In reply to: Accept, stumble upon, be given as in a gift or free...

Do banks copyright their records? If not, it might be hard to try to apply copyright laws in the case at hand.
In the case of an icon, you'd have to get into the subject of "fair use". Fair use example: I like bugs Bunny and draw him on my notebook. That is fair use. I make another notebook with his picture on the cover and sell it to someone. Not fair use, I would be making money selling a copyrighted image.

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Paying money to obtain evidence against those breaking the

In reply to: Accept, stumble upon, be given as in a gift or free...

law has been done since governments have existed. How about Daniel Ellsberg? Have you condemned him? How about people who provide evidence against organized crime figures? They may also have "stolen" information, and they are paid in many ways including an assured income. Are you condemning them? How about those who steal information about pollution, and publicize it? Are you condemning them? The government does its work based on law, and no US law was broken even if the allegations in the story are true.

Obtaining evidence of lawbreaking has no connection to ripping off copyrighted material. I have no problem whatsoever with obtaining evidence against lawbreakers, and using it to put them in jail. If you can't see the difference, your moral vision strikes me as very myopic. My guess is that you see no problem with taking things as long as it is your agenda that is being served.

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My "moral vision" is questionable, huh ?

In reply to: Paying money to obtain evidence against those breaking the

Why is my moral standard at question here at all ? If anything, all I am asking if there is a consistent moral standard being practiced here, or if the US is rewarding a thief... for turning in other law breakers because it is convenient to do so ?

Attacking me personally, does nothing to change the facts. If one is "obtaining evidence of lawbreaking" by paying an individual for stolen records, then one has lost any right to claim moral superiority.

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Why don't you simply answer the questions.

In reply to: My "moral vision" is questionable, huh ?

Do you condemn those who steal information about pollution from corporations in the US, and publicize that information? Do you condemn Ellsberg (sp?)? You remember him? He stole papers from the Pentagon and published them.

It shouldn't be hard to answer those two, and, if you are consistent, you should condemn the thieves in both cases. How about it?

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ROTFLAYI

In reply to: Why don't you simply answer the questions.

W

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I see it's the old double standard.

In reply to: ROTFLAYI

As I said, it's OK is the theft supports your agenda. It's bad when that is what supports your agenda. That's usually called hypocracy.

No surprise there.

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(NT) You're boring me Colonel Kurtz... :-(

In reply to: I see it's the old double standard.

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you mix chalk and cheese

In reply to: I see it's the old double standard.

and then complain when it tastes bad

.,

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I suggest we just ignore KP

In reply to: you mix chalk and cheese

His gambits have become so contrived as to be nonsensical. His insistence that these ploys are truly legitimate make me question his sanity. His agenda however, is sadly obvious.

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Being unable to respond with an articulate and reasoned

In reply to: you mix chalk and cheese

argument, you folks now respond with such erudite things as;

ROTFLAYI

and

chalk and cheese

Two cases of theft of corporate secrets (plus other thefts), and you guys are unable to articulate why one is good and one is bad, or to mount an intellectual defense of your positions.

Chuckle.

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