The news that the UK has followed Germany’s lead in paying an informant with access to Liechtenstein’s biggest bank for account data is frightening.
This sets a horrifying precedent in condoning/rewarding a breach of confidentiality and sale of financial data. Imagine if the position were reversed and an overseas state gained access to the UK banking system or to Government records. There would be outrage and claims that the perpetrator should have been handed over to the authorities by the foreign Government.
Whilst commercial espionage undoubtedly occurs, for this to be publicly claimed as a triumph by HM Revenues & Customs is dangerous. Furthermore, one wonders whether defendents in any resultant tax evasion cases might well contest the charge on the basis of how the information was obtained ie illegally.