Disgruntled Tech In Liechtenstein Steals Banking Info On Tax Cheats; Turns It In For Rewards

from the good-or-bad? dept

Forget the disgruntled tech holding the city of San Francisco hostage. An even more interesting story of a disgruntled tech is coming out of the tiny European country of Lichtenstein. Apparently (who knew?) Lichtenstein is a favorite destination for money of rich folks looking to avoid taxes. It's banking system is apparently quite secretive... except, of course, in the hands of a disgruntled computer tech. It appears that just such a tech, named Heinrich Kieber walked off with tons of data from Liechtenstein LGT Group, a bank owned by Lichtenstein's ruling family. He then sold that data to a variety of countries to help those countries find and arrest tax cheats. This turned out to be quite lucrative for Kieber. For example, the US offers such "whistle blowers" 30% of whatever tax money they recover. Germany apparently paid him somewhere between $6 million and $7.3 million for the info. The guy's lawyer insists he's a whistleblower -- while those exposed have a different word (or words) they think of when discussing Kieber.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    James, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 8:19am

    HAHAHA!

    Thats great... although that stealing data part ... hmm.. perhaps he could fined for the amount he received for blowing the whistle.

     

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  2.  
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    GeneralEmergency, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Whoa...

    The last guy on the planet I'd want to be right now is the Information Security Officer at the Liechtenstein LGT Group.

    This data theft is gonna result in people being X-Rayed going in and outta work at these banks, just like the diamond mines in South Africa.

     

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  3.  
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    Justin, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:17am

    Note to self

    Stop banking in Lichtenstein.

     

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  4.  
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    discojohnson, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:17am

    Fines are the least of his worries.

    I'd be more concerned with being murdered.

     

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  5.  
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    Josh, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:18am

    Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins, for they are subtle and quick to anger - and they know where you stash your porn and illegal tax records.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:21am

    Lichtenstein's banking secrecy laws make Switzerland look like an open source bank. I can believe a lot of the US customers are just a bit worried.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:25am

    Re: HAHAHA!

    Who would fine him? Liechtenstein? But that would mean the money would go to Lichtenstein's ruling family, who own the bank. So the bank makes all the money that they were hiding?

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:27am

    Hah! I wonder if he sold anything to Russia... Yeah, avoiding becoming very dead should be on the top list of his priorities.

     

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  9.  
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    AJ, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:34am

    Thats great...

    Irony is, he'll probably make tons more money having been fired, than he would have ever dreamed about work there. I'm betting he'll end up with a sizeable price on his head for his efforts. The kind of people that hide that kind of money probably have the means to make his life .... err.. difficult.

     

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  10.  
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    wasnt me, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:38am

    i don't think this guy will live to see fall.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:39am

    Re: Thats great...

    "...the means to make his life .... err.. difficult."

    Or non-existent.

     

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  12.  
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    Joe Smith, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 10:04am

    Rewards

    If you surf around the net you will find that someone is offering a multi-million dollar reward for information as to the man's whereabouts. I guess someone wants to have a chat with him pretty badly.

     

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  13.  
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    Beta, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 10:10am

    There are several lessons in this. One is that a bank account is not reliably private if it's attached to your identity. A numbered account (which they create without ever asking for your name) is safer, but the really tricky part is finding a bank that won't rob you when you have no legal recourse.

     

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  14.  
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    Richard Breidenthal, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 10:20am

    Tax Cheats

    Three cheers for the whistleblower. How much money do these people need? These folks can't spend all the money they have. They don't want to pay their share. That is how they accumulated the wealth, by not playing by the rules.
    That's what caused the French Revolution.
    let's hang-um.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 10:25am

    I hope there are no whistle blowers from UBS that find out about this.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Re: Numbered accounts

    I don't think that there are any jurisdictions where you can open a true numbered account. Most international banking regulations require that financial institutions 'know their customer' at some level. I know that even 15 years ago in Switzerland, it was pretty much impossible to get an anonymous numbered account. You could get one if a local lawyer vouched for you, but the lawyer was required to disclose your identity if there was a criminal investigation. Of course, there are probably shady jurisdictions where you can kinda do this, but to participate in the international banking system, they have to follow the rules to some degree.

    The real and smart way to do this is to have shell or even real companies. If you have enough money where taxes are a real issue, then it's far safer to have that money held by various companies, some of which could issue 'bearer bonds'...

    Besides, anyone who is trying to evade US taxes is pretty much a fool. Much better off holding ALL your assets in the US where there are innumerable tax loopholes vs trying to save 5% via some illegal scheme or be potentially subject to taxes in a high-tax bracket country. Unless, of course, your income is from illegal activities....

     

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  17.  
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    DS78, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 11:07am

    Wow

    Hell hath no fury like a sysadmin scorned. I can't wait for the movie to come out!

     

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  18.  
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    SeaTec, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 11:09am

    Fraud

    It seems that this guys was sought for real estate fraud in Spain. Hmm, why did they hire him?

     

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  19.  
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    Seatec, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 11:14am

    NOt only the cusotmer of LGT are sweating but all the banks that have these accounts are scrambling to do back ground checks of their IT staff. Not to mention offering better bonus plans!!!!

     

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  20.  
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    boodgetta, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    Maybe he could change his name...

    ...and get a secret bank account.....!

     

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  21.  
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    Benjamin Wright, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 11:35am

    secrets

    In the age of information, the rich, the powerful and the authoritative surprisingly find that they can keep no secrets. Therefore secrets become liabilities. --Ben http://hack-igations.blogspot.com/2007/12/people-in-authority-sometimes-abuse.html

     

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  22.  
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    udamdirtyape, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 12:09pm

    My new hero...

     

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  23.  
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    Fuzzy Wuzzy Balls, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 1:25pm

    Re: secrets

    That dude is going to be whacked, they are going to shoot his ass and bury him in an unmarked grave somewhere. Wow, this dude has it coming my god,"concrete shoes, cyanide TNT". I'll admit that is was a good idea but, it was one of his last no doubt.

     

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  24.  
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    JoeP, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 3:43pm

    New Identity

    I would bet that, if there was enough money involved, this guy probably worked out a new identity with one of the governments he turned info over to....

     

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  25.  
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    Huh?, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 6:50am

    Re: New Identity

    Thats funny. You think some of the people affected by this aren't powerful government officials from within these governments or at least good friends with powerful government officials. The people who are charged with creating and enforcing the laws are most often the ones violating them. I don't care if they send this guy to space station, he's dead.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Fraud

    It seems that this guys was sought for real estate fraud in Spain. Hmm, why did they hire him?
    Link for that?

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 4:05pm

    Re:

    NOt only the cusotmer of LGT are sweating but all the banks that have these accounts are scrambling to do back ground checks of their IT staff.
    They already do in most places. LGT doesn't?

     

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  28.  
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    Mike, Jul 19th, 2008 @ 6:02am

    Let’s be clear on one thing. There is no such thing as a “tax cheat”.

    “Cheating” on your taxes is the moral equivalent of telling a mugger you have no more money than what’s in your wallet when you’ve got a wad of currency crammed between your ass cheeks.

    Stealing for thieves

     

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