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Swiss complain to OECD

Published on 19/03/2009

PARIS - Switzerland said on Wednesday it formally complained to the OECD after the organisation placed it on a draft list of uncooperative tax havens in a dispute about banking secrecy.

"We were surprised, not to say annoyed, in recent days to find Switzerland’s name on a list that the OECD has cooked up in a non-transparent manner," Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey told reporters in Paris.

"Switzerland is not a tax haven, not a delinquent state, not an uncooperative state," she added, speaking after talks here with French ministers.

She said Switzerland sent a letter of complaint to Angel Gurria, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a Paris-based, government-funded research institute.

Switzerland along with several other countries and territories earlier in March said it would relax its bank secrecy laws amid growing international pressure to end tax havens.

Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz said the OECD threatened to blacklist it as a tax haven and it risked being punished with economic sanctions, according to comments published at the weekend.

Switzerland is one of 30 members of the OECD, a group of industrialised, democratic nations that serves as policy advisor and a forum for debate about economic and political issues.

AFP / Expatica