Berlin, Germany. An investigation into a German revenue agenst spying in Switzerland is exposing an American-style Internal Revenue Service information collecting operation being used to spy on Germans putting money in Swiss bank accounts with out Germany’s knowledge.

In a case that has set off outrage in Germany, the man identified only as DM was taken into custody in April and charged with investigating how German authorities came up with data identifying German tax dodgers with Swiss accounts.The state has spent 17.9 million euros ($19.9 million) since 2010 on data that has helped it recover nearly 7 billion in tax revenue from German citizens.

A Swiss state attorney defended federal prosecutors on Wednesday from allegations that they inadvertently blew the cover of a spy detained in Germany last month on suspicion he was gathering intelligence about sales of stolen Swiss bank data.

Media reports say unredacted interrogation records in which DM told Swiss police about his spy activity in Germany fell into the hands of German prosecutors when lawyers for two German suspects in that case were given access to the files.

The suspect was also under investigation in Switzerland on unrelated allegations that he was dealing in stolen bank data himself via German middlemen. Media reports say unredacted interrogation records in which DM told Swiss police about his spy activity in Germany fell into the hands of German prosecutors when lawyers for two German suspects in that case were given access to the files.

“If the Office of Attorney General had decided to black out the passages in the files and thus conceal D.M.’s professed mission for the NDB (intelligence agency) it would have massively impaired not only the rights of the suspects but also the search for the truth,” it said in a statement.

Switzerland’s government has acknowledged that police asked the NDB in 2011 to help with stolen data in Germany. But it has declined to give more details in light of this breach. North Rhine-Westphalia has for years irritated Switzerland by buying data as part of a crackdown on Germans stashing cash in secret accounts to avoid paying tax.

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