The Strategist

Lutz Otte, Who Stole Client Data from Julius Baer Bank, Got 600 000 Euro and 1.5 Years in Prison

11/24/2015 - 14:24

"If I had a chance, I would do it again," - says Lutz Otte, who handed to Germany client data stolen from the Swiss bank Julius Baer. He made 600,000 euros out of this and was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison.
Switzerland does not cooperate with the tax authorities of other countries, if their request is based on stolen data. In this case, according to Swiss law, foreign authorities act as accomplices to the preson who committed theft. However, the government proposes to revise the law, so the parliament will discuss the changes in 2016.

in 2014, Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) received 2971 request from the tax authorities of other countries to provide information on their citizens' accounts in local banks. SFTA representative declined to say how many requests were based on the stolen data; however, there is no doubt in this. In 2013, the government of Rhineland-Palatinate estimated that the budget can return 500 million euros thanks to a CD with client data stolen from a bank.

In 2018, the agreement on the automatic exchange of bank customers’ data with other countries will start to operate in Switzerland. "Purchasing the data will not make any sense anymore as the information will come automatically," - said the representative of the Swiss Ministry of Finance.

56-year-old Lutz Otte, working in IT, was first a specialist at UBS, and then at Julius Baer. He had a golf buddy - a retired tax inspector. The man offered Otte to steal customer data. Otte himself says, that after 30 years in the IT-business "I was fed up with it and it was an opportunity to get away". In 2011, he passed Julius Baer’s dossier on 2700 German customers to his friend, who sold them to the German authorities.

July morning in 2012, the Swiss police raided Zurich Otte’s house in the suburbs. In 2013, he was imprisoned on charges of industrial espionage, money laundering and violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. Otte asked 1.1 million euros for the information. However, 15% went to his friend, more than 300 000 euros was frozen by the Swiss authorities, another part went to pay for a lawyer. The remaining money Otte, who now lives in Germany, intends to invest in the wine business.