Switzerland 'to hit back' at OECD

14th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Swiss officials consider measures against OECD for being placed on tax “grey list”.

ZURICH - Switzerland is considering further measures against the OECD in the dispute over its tax haven reform, media reports said Sunday.

The Neue Zuercher Zeitung (NZZ) quoted Swiss officials as saying they might block progress in cooperation with China, India and other emerging countries in protest against being placed on the OECD's "grey list".

On Wednesday Switzerland blocked a payment of EUR 136,000 (CHF 206,000, USD 180,000) to the OECD, a 30-member organisation of major industrialised countries.

Officials were now considering delaying their membership subscription of CHF 10 million or blocking the 2011 reelection of OECD secretary general Angel Gurria, the paper reported.

The federal finance ministry could not be reached for comment.

But Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin told Sonntag, another Sunday paper, that it was not up to the OECD to act as a "restaurant guide" on the issue.

On 2 April, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a "grey list" of countries that "committed to the internationally agreed tax standard, but have not yet substantially implemented" the measures.

Swiss politicians were angry to find their country on the list even though it announced measures to relax its tax secrecy laws.

On Thursday Gurria said that the first contacts with Switzerland on tax issues took place in October 2008.

"The OECD acted in good faith and duly shared its information with the representatives of the countries concerned," he said in a letter to the president of the Swiss confederation.

Switzerland so far had "not signed a single agreement on the exchange of tax information in conformity with OECD standards", he added.

AFP / Expatica

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