The Maltese government has asked Germany for access to data on offshore holdings in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, to crack down on large-scale tax evasion and financial crime.

The request for information on any Maltese passport holders was last week sent to the German government by Maltese tax officials after Berlin purchased data on millions of international taxpayers from an anonymous source in Dubai, the Times of Malta reported.

The island nation’s aim is to uncover potential Maltese tax dodgers, particularly high-net-worth individuals, who hide their wealth overseas. In recent years, the authorities have received intelligence of potentially irregular holdings by Maltese nationals in the UAE.

Malta has been placed on the greylist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for, among other reasons, weaknesses in intelligence gathering on criminal tax evasion. The government has agreed an action plan to leave the list by January 2023.

When announcing the data purchase last month, the German finance ministry said it provides information on people who own land, property and other assets in the Gulf, including several thousand Germans. The purpose of the acquisition of the so-called Dubai list was to identify tax offences such as undeclared income, assets that have been hidden from the authorities and illegal cross-border transactions.

“With this new data, we are illuminating the dark corners in which tax offenders have been hiding until now,” finance minister Olaf Scholz said.

The national government’s central tax office reportedly paid around €2m ($2.35m) for the data.


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