Germany welcomes growing pressure on tax havens

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Berlin has been leading efforts to put pressure on tax havens and bank secrecy nations since late last year, asking for Switzerland to be included on an OECD blacklist of tax havens.

Brussels -- German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck voiced satisfaction on Monday at seeing pressure building on tax havens and countries that practice banking secrecy like Switzerland.

"I'm delighted to see how much momentum this debate has got going" in recent months, he told journalists as he arrived for a meeting with his euro zone counterparts in Brussels.

Berlin has been leading efforts to put pressure on tax havens and bank secrecy nations since October 2008, asking for Switzerland to be included on an OECD blacklist of tax havens, much to Bern's consternation.

The German minister stressed that Washington was showing newfound willingness to ensure that offshore financial centres do not go unregulated in the wake of the current crisis.

"These tax havens are also places where unregulated financial market deals are made,” he said. “Who would have thought a year and a half ago that there would be so much momentum going now" for a clampdown.

He said that it was with "great interest" that he saw that a summit of the G20 leading economic powers in London on April 2 would discuss a blacklist of uncooperative tax havens.

On Sunday, finance chiefs from Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria fought off growing pressure to include their countries on the tax haven blacklist, demanding a say in talks on the issue ahead of the G20 summit.

AFP/Expatica

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