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Swiss say won't renegotiate terms of German tax deal
ZURICH Aug 15 (Reuters) - A bilateral deal to tackle German tax dodgers hiding money in secret Swiss accounts cannot be renegotiated, a spokesman for the Swiss government said on Wednesday.
The agreement to tax Germans' accounts in Switzerland is due to come into effect early next year, but recent purchases by German officials of leaked bank data have raised questions as to whether the deal will survive.
It still needs to be ratified by the German parliament.
The two countries have renegotiated the deal once, setting higher tax rates in a bid to please Germany's opposition SPD, which says the pact lets tax evaders off too lightly and refuses to ratify it.
"There will be no subsequent negotiations," Swiss government spokesman Andre Simonazzi told a news conference.
The SPD could return to power in Germany as part of a governing coalition in parliamentary elections next year.
Banking secrecy is key to Switzerland's $2 trillion offshore wealth management industry. The Swiss government has refused an automatic exchange of information on account holders and is pursuing instead the strategy of a withholding tax to preserve secrecy.
Germans hold an estimated 150 billion euros ($185 billion) in Swiss accounts.
Chancellor Angela Merkel still backs the pact, a German government spokesman said on Monday.
(Reporting by Catherine Bosley; Editing by John Stonestreet)
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