Wealthy families and other ultra high net worth individuals who have invested money into Liechtenstein's LGT bank may find their assets closely scrutinised as the bank is investigated for fraud by the German government.
In its largest ever tax probe, Germany is investigating the accounts of over 1000 Germans in LGT, the bank owned by the Liechtenstein royal family. The German government believes the bank has also been hiding the taxable assets of many UHNWIs around the world. This allegations have already led to the resignation of Deutsche Post boss Klaus Zumwinkel, who was accused of evading €1 million in tax.
Liechtenstein is run by the Princely House of Liechtenstein, one of the oldest noble families in Europe. At a press conference in Vaduz on Tuesday 19 February, the Prince Alois (pictured), who took over Head of State duties from his father in 2004, condemned the Germans for their actions and said that the secrecy of the bank's investors would be upheld. "At a time when other states are increasingly interfering in the private sphere of their citizens, citizens feel a big need for strong privacy right protection," he said.
"Germany has clearly failed to understand how one behaves towards a friendly state," he continued. "We are a small country and we want good relations with our neighbours.
Prince Alois has also accused Germany of buying data that was stolen from LGT in 2002 and using it as a basis for the investigation.