Red herring, of course, being the fallacy of throwing in unrelated information to defend a claim. Recently, in defending his country’s banking secrecy policies, Prince Hans-Adam II of Lichtenstein claimed that secret banking had helped save Jews during WWII. The claim is not only irrelevant in this context, to Muffti’s mind, but particularly stinging since the main complaint about the secrecy policies comes from the Germans. Even German Jews aren’t especially impressed with the picture of Lichtenstein allowing secrecy for their banking customers as a venture to protect the (very wealthy) oppressed from tyranny…from Jpost. It’s a fun read, especially given how bombastic the Prince’s claims are.

The latest flare-up of fractious relations between the tiny Alpine principality and its much larger neighbor to the north follows outspoken comments this weekend from Prince Hans-Adam II on Liechtenstein’s national holiday.

The prince took aim at Germany, which has been pressuring Liechtenstein to clamp down on confidential banking practices that allow German depositors to evade taxes.

“We and Switzerland saved many people, especially Jews, with banking secrecy,” Hans-Adam told the Liechtensteiner Volksblatt. “Germany should clean up its own act, and think about its past.”

Germany’s Jewish community, which last year condemned Hans-Adam II’s description of modern Germany as a “Fourth Reich,” slammed his latest comments Monday as another insensitive twisting of history.

“He is portraying a picture of the banks which is absolutely not true,” said Stephan Kramer, general secretary of the German Central Council of Jews.

Kramer told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the prince was falsely describing the role of Swiss and Liechtensteinian banks as pursuing “a rescue mission” of Jews in World War II.

He said the prince should not cite the struggle of Jews to escape the Holocaust as “a defense shield against people targeting the banks and their practices today, hiding not only clean money but dirty money.”

But Hans-Adam noted how some Jews were able to buy their safety during the Holocaust by using money they had deposited in Switzerland or Liechtenstein.

The prince said banking secrecy also had helped people persecuted by communist governments. He said it could be a lifesaver today for people who must shelter their savings from “Third World countries run by bloodthirsty dictators.”

Hans-Adam said other nations’ high tax rates – not Liechtenstein’s money havens – were responsible for tax evasion.

“Germany and many other countries have an unbelievable mess with their state finances. These must first be put in order,” he said.

Kramer said Hans-Adam’s views were outrageous and insulting to Holocaust victims.

“This was not some search-and-rescue mission by the Liechtenstein banks or the Liechtenstein state or the Swiss state to help those poor Jews being persecuted,” he said. “This was their money in their bank accounts that they then took out to get rescued from the Nazis.”

The Liechtenstein royal family’s press office declined Monday to respond to the criticism.

The 64-year-old prince has waged many legal battles in Germany to recover artwork he says was stolen from his family by the Nazis during World War II. More recently, Liechtenstein has feuded with Berlin over German citizens’ use of Liechtensteinian banks to evade taxes.

Last year, German authorities paid a former employee of Liechtenstein’s LGT bank for the names of about 1,400 alleged tax cheats on its customer rolls. The bank, which is wholly owned by the prince and his family, responded with fury, but the operation did push Liechtenstein toward reforming its banking rules.

Hans-Adam rejected the idea that his country prospers from tax evasion. He said the principality’s banks offer “high-quality performance.”

“There are clients who deposit money here completely legally, because they value our good service,” he said.

Still, Hans-Adam warned that Liechtenstein’s banks could suffer over the next two or three years as “the market crash is hitting far more negatively than the whole tax debate.”

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9 Comments

  • Kind of unrelated but the Princess of Liechtenstein babysat my Austrian pal Elisabeth. No tiara, just jeans.

  • between the tiny Alpine principality and its much larger neighbor to the north

    The Federal Republic of Germany doesn’t have a common border with Liechtenstein. Maybe somebody at Jpost has used some old maps…..

  • Doc Phil, it’s not a matter of it being outlandish, it’s a matter of being irrelevant. It’s a defense of a banking policy that has long been known to protect criminals evading massive amounts of tax based on a clearly unintended byproduct from well over 60 years ago of a policy that is now known to aid and abet tax fraud and evasion to the tune of massive amounts of money taken out of public coffers.

    In other words, the reasoning makes a nice (though unsubstantiated) story in the annals of Liechtenstein history but seems to be pretty uncompelling as a defense of a policy that clearly aids and abets tax fraud.

    So what’s your problem, dude? Do you just avoid getting the point on purpose or does your weirdly anti-semitic tendency to start sentence with ‘you jews’ blind you?

  • It’s not a “policy.” You have to work pretty damn hard to get to a point where you get deleted.

    There is no reason that we should serve as anybody’s platform for their antisemitism, there are plenty of other sites on the web for that. And yes, these pigs can be debated ad nauseam, but since their mission isn’t to debate but to make sure their bullshit is read, we end up being facilitators. Or chumps, if you will.

  • Then he just publishes whatever he likes anyway. It’s not as if he cares about the topic under discussion. He has an agenda to disseminate his propaganda and if you debate him, he responds but publishes what he wants anyway, and if you don’t respond, he has an even easier time. Why should we serve as a platform?

    And he’s been warned by me before that if he returns, his comments will be erased, so it’s not as if he doesn’t know what he’s doing. It’s just that he knows that namby pamby Jewlicious authors like Muffti and ck want to uphold the notion of free speech even if it means that an antisemite can come into the site that we have spent years building up and use it as a megaphone. Fortunately, I have no qualms about removing his material.

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