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Germany's western state of North Rhine-Westphalia says it will continue to buy information on potential tax cheats with money hidden in Swiss bank accounts.

Finance Minister Norbert Walter-Borjans said in a statement Thursday that his staff is regularly offered data which it is obliged to examine.

He declined to comment on media reports Thursday that state officials recently purchased a CD containing names of German clients of Swiss bank UBS.

Authorities in the state have previously bought data on customers of other Swiss banks and Walter-Borjans says a German-Swiss treaty due to come into force at the end of the year wouldn't prohibit the practice.

UBS said in a statement Thursday that it "is not aware of having fallen victim to data theft."

BERLIN

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