Swiss lawmakers approve easing bank info exchange

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Swiss lawmakers on Friday gave final approval to easing banking secrecy rules and facilitating foreign authorities in their bid to catch citizens who may have hidden undeclared funds in the Alpine state.

The upper chamber of parliament adopted on Friday the new double taxation accords negotiated with certain countries regarding information exchange, following the green light given by the lower house in April.

New treaties were negotiated with countries including the Netherlands, Turkey, Japan, Poland, India, Germany, Kazakhstan, Canada, Uruguary and Greece, after Switzerland bowed to international pressure in 2009 to ease its banking secrecy rules.

Under the new rules, Switzerland would no longer require the name and address of an individual as well as a bank, before providing administrative aid on tax matters to foreign authorities. Rather, an IBAN number or a social security number would suffice to identify the individual.

While Friday's vote largely clears the way for the adoption of the new rules, it could still be contested by a popular referendum within 100 days.

© 2011 AFP

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