This is the story of a bank placed in a small tax heaven country with a prince with his own bank worth about 100 billion dollars next to big country where taxes are high and the rich make it a national sport to travel with their money to place it in a foundation of that little 'country'.
At a time the bank needed someone smart to digitalize all of its documents since 1970. They found a guy and he was really smart. They didn't know that he fled to Argentina because he defrauded some people in Barcelona for about half a million Euro's in a corrupt landdeal, but who cares ? So he was digitalizing all these documents by hand about all those dodgy deals and all the transactions and manuals and the whole work. He was even so smart that he wrote a special program to be able to interpret the data.
So in 2001 he is mad as hell and gets fired. But he does want some payback and tells the bank that he doesn't want to be convicted for that corrupt landdeal and if the prince couldn't make a deal with the prosecutors. They did and they thought that was the end of it. He wouldn't make the data public as he threatened, wouldn't he ?
Oh yes he would. First he sold it to the Americans, than he tried the Brits but those negotiations were taking too long, so he send an email to the inteilligence service of Germany. Would they be interested ? The German Intelligence Service was trying for years to get spies into those banks in Liechtenstein, a 'state' they already called corrupt 6 years ago but they didn't have any breakthroughs. This could be it.
First they had to cover their backs and they asked the tax administration to ask them in writing to assist them with organizing and securing the negotiations. Secondly they had a legal obligation to treat and receive the information if they were sure they could use it to prosecute crime. Thirdly the government was willing to pay the money the whistleblower asked for his information and his assistance (as he had digitalized all that information himself by hand). He also needed another identity.
When the information was finally paid (and they solved some problems because some thought it was being used for money-laundering) the full extent of the information on the DVD's was becoming clear
* around 1400 Germans of which some highranking industralists and even some government official responsable for dataprotection were going to be prosecuted. Some already agreed to pay the sums.
* some German private banks and members of the board of german banks were involved in those schemes
* Russian and other criminal networks were using Liechtenstein as a money-hub. Some of the companies used by these netwerks were unknown before.
The prince of Liechtenstein was naturally not amused and he said it was all the result of the criminal activities of the germans and that he was going to change nothing to protect the privacy of its users. The OECD calls that privacy excessive and says that Liechtenstein is only one three European 'states' (Andorra, Gibraltar) that is not working with the OECD against money laundering. The germans responded saying they wouldn't accept that Liechtenstein became member of Schengen before there was a cooperation agreement (like Liechtenstin has with the US) against money-laundering.
The swiss are having fear of a political fall-out even if they have such agreements and are part of the OECD schemes. They even said that they would now suspect that germans working in Swiss banks could be spies. But there are already files circulating from another german-Liechtenstein bank that could spell trouble for thousands of other Germans and institutions.
There are a lot of articles furled about the subject
I finally ask myself. If one should already be paranoid about data that is totally legit, how paranoid shouldn't you be about your illegitimate business ? Did they really think they would be immune for prosecution, espionage, insider threats and hacking ? Even the most simple risk analysis would have said that even enormous investments into securing that data would have been worthwhile. And surely those procedures and techniques against the insider threat.
Nowadays everyone knows that you can become very rich very quick if you could get your hands on information from banks about their black backoffice schemes. And you won't be prosecuted for it.