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German minister seeks tougher rules for tax cheats

Sunday - 3/16/2014, 12:17pm  ET

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble arrives at the government's cabinet meeting at the chancellery, in Berlin, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Schaeuble will present new informations about the planed government debt for the budgets 2014 and 2015. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) -- Germany's finance minister wants to tighten rules allowing tax evaders to escape punishment if they turn themselves in after the conviction of soccer giant Bayern Munich's ex-president highlighted the issue.

Polls show strong opposition against concessions to tax cheats who confess. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper the rules are an "effective instrument" but need tightening.

People who evade more than 50,000 euros ($69,500) in tax have to pay 5 percent extra; Schaeuble said authorities want to increase that. He also advocated changing the statute of limitations on money parked abroad.

Uli Hoeness, who subsequently quit as Bayern president, was sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison Thursday for evading millions through an undeclared Swiss account. He turned himself in, but his declaration was ruled incomplete.

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