Swiss on G20 blacklist?

2nd March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Sarkozy says Switzerland could be included on an international blacklist of tax havens.

BRUSSELS - Switzerland could be included on a planned G20 blacklist of tax havens, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Sunday.

Asked after an EU summit in Brussels whether the Swiss could find themselves on the blacklist being prepared for a G20 meeting in April, Sarkozy replied "that depends on their response".

"But as things stand ...  the answer is probably, yes," he said.

In late February Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz said his country might make some concessions on banking secrecy to avoid being placed on the international blacklist when the leaders of the G20 industrialised and emerging economies meet in London on 2 April.

In recent months, Switzerland faced growing international criticism especially in the United States and in the European Union.

British and German ministers claimed secrecy encourages EU citizens to evade taxes by hiding their money in Swiss banks.

Banking secrecy law prohibits Swiss banks from revealing information to domestic or foreign authorities or any third parties about their clients, except in cases involving recognised criminal investigations.

In Switzerland, only tax fraud is regarded as a crime, not tax evasion, a distinction that does not exist in most other major economies.

AFP / Expatica

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