Stolen Liechtenstein bank account data may be used to by prosecutors
justify a search warrant in a criminal probe, Germany's top
constitutional court ruled.
Data which may have been stolen from a Liechtenstein bank and later sold
to German authorities can be used by a judge when authorizing
prosecutors to raid homes as part of a probe into tax evasion, the
Karlsruhe-based court said in an e-mailed statement
"The constitution knows no rules saying that a legally flawed collection
of evidence in any case bars the use of that evidence," the judges
wrote. "An absolute rule warranting the exclusion of such evidence has
only been accepted in cases touching the absolute core area of privacy."
German authorities have bought several compact discs with account data
of people who put money in Swiss or Liechtenstein banks, sparking
discussions whether it is legal to use the information for prosecution.
The data has lead to probes of thousands of potential German tax evaders.
One of them was former Deutsche Post AG
Officer Klaus Zumwinkel
who in January 2009 received a two-year suspended sentence and was
ordered to pay a 1 million-euro ($1.3 million) penalty.
The case is BVerfG, 2 BvR 2101/09.