German prosecutors paid around €1.5m (£1.3m) for client data from Swiss bank Julius Baer, as part of a campaign to clamp down on untaxed German wealth held in Switzerland.
A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office in the German city of Muenster said the state of North Rhine Westphalia had bought a CD containing data on 200 accounts.
The sale happened earlier this summer and the person who sold the CD asked that the proceeds be donated to a charity, the spokeswoman said. Baer would not comment.
Germany, along with Italy, the US and France, has been one of the most fervent critics of Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws and has paid in the past for stolen data from Swiss banks in order to catch tax cheats. Pressure has already prompted Switzerland to relax its cherished bank secrecy and comply with international disclosure standards.