The Department of Justice this week sought authorization to allow the IRS to serve a "John Doe" summons on MasterCard International, which would enable the agency to get data about people whose identities are not known but are suspected of using offshore accounts to evade their taxes.

The papers filed in Miami disclose that in response to the earlier "John Doe" summons, MasterCard produced records that led to civil audits and criminal investigations of many United States taxpayers. These taxpayers include people who used offshore credit cards to pay for expenses such as jewelry, hotel and car rentals, airline tickets, restaurants, cell-phone and online services, department store purchases and groceries.

The petition filed seeks records relating to the years 1999, 2000 and 2001, of cards issued by banks in more than 30 countries. The 30 countries include Liechtenstein, Switzerland and numerous Caribbean nations, such as Belize, Bermuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

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