Volltext: Liechtenstein and the German tax affair:

Issue: "Trust vs. greed, morality and ethics" 
This case affects questions of trust. Trust of clients in the Liechtenstein financial center, trust 
of German citizens in their State, but especially also trust of and in the employees of 
Liechtenstein banks. "Every well-managed bank must carefully select all employees with 
access to sensitive data," said the Secretary General of the Swiss Private Bankers Association, 
Michel Derobert, in the FAZ of 27.2.2008 (p. 12). 
In Germany, however, the discussion is not about questions of trust, but rather of greed, 
morality, and ethics. The relationship of trust between the citizens and the State are hardly 
addressed. This is a topic that is extremely important to Liechtenstein policy and 
Liechtenstein citizens. In response to the statement by Hereditary Prince Alois that Germany 
has one of the worst tax systems in the world — "even worse than Haiti" — (press conference of 
19.2.2008), the German Minister of Finance responded that Germany could lower its tax rates 
if not so many Germans were to defraud the State (FAZ, 25.2.2008, 13, "The foundation affair 
reaches Britain"). 
The public call by Peer Steinbrück to Swiss bank employees (and presumably also 
Liechtenstein bank employees) to send private data concerning (German) clients of Swiss 
banks to his ministry was countered in an open letter by the chairman of economiesuisse (the 
umbrella organization of the Swiss private sector), Gerold Bührer: "Dear Mr. Federal Minister 
[...] these statements do not fit the image of our shared legal culture." (FAZ and NZZ, 
The letter to the editor written by a German citizen living in Liechtenstein expresses the 
feelings of many other citizens: "I do not think that the German Government has the right to 
spread so many half-truths about Liechtenstein until the ever increasing grievances in 
Germany have been remedied." (Liechtensteiner Vaterland, 11.4.2008, 10). 
This thought is presented in the feature pages of FAZ already on 17.2.2008 (p. 31) at another 
level: "Can the poison of illegal money still be controlled with appeals or codes of conduct? 
Aside from the success of the Liechtenstein operation, the State stands there like the imbecile 
Wile E. Coyote who is always bumbling after the elegant and superfast Road Runner. We are 
waving volumes of laws that answer 'meep meep'. 
6.6.2 Synthesis of issue structures 
The different interests of the various actors surface during disputes in social communication 
in the form of issues. These issues in turn compete for attention of the public, in the media, 
and among political decision-makers [...] and must therefore be reduced in terms of 
complexity, in order to have a better chance of being heard. This reduction of complexity [...] 
concerns individual issues as well as the entire issue structure. 
The process begins with the interest groups, which seek out public attention for their concerns 
and thus define and delineate the issues as clearly as possible. The mass media, which are 
faced with an excess supply of information, further simplify these issues and reduce complex 
relationships into formats that fit into two newspaper columns or three-minute reports. Mass 
media — like the other levels of the system of publicity — also reduce the complexity of the 


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