No More Swiss Banking Secret
Switzerland is ready to lift its banking secrecy in 2015. According to the Swiss daily ‘Le Temps’, Bern prepares to accept the principle of automatic information exchange, advocated by the G20 and the OECD. But the Swiss also set their conditions for surrender. Anne Cheyvialle reports for France’s Le Figaro.
The shores of Lake Geneva are rumbling again. According to the newspaper Le Temps, Switzerland would be ready to accept the principle of automatic exchange of information starting 2015. A decision that would sign a death warrant for banking secrecy on foreign accounts.
The transfer of bank data upon request, prevalent under tax treaties, will be done and over with. The new rule will be fiscal transparency as is now commonplace across the European Union – with the exception of Austria and Luxembourg. The Swiss decision follows that of the Grand Duchy, which promised to lift banking secrecy in 2015.
The Blacklist of Tax Havens
Once again, it is the international pressure that got the better of the Swiss, just like other European banking havens. After pressure from the United States on the Europeans and the willingness demonstrated at the G20 to make the automatic exchange of information an international standard under the auspices of the OECD, Bern could not withstand the pressure.
But Switzerland refuses to be cornered as it was in 2009, when it first breached its bank secrecy after being placed on a blacklist of tax havens for the first time in its history. This time, the country wants to impose conditions to its surrender. Bern will accept the automatic exchange of information only if competing financial centers accept to do the same – London, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York – and if the trusts that guarantee the anonymity of Anglo Saxon account holders are included in the deal.