Home News Luxembourg to ease bank secrecy, meet EU rules from 2015

Luxembourg to ease bank secrecy, meet EU rules from 2015

Published on 11/04/2013

Faced with growing international pressure over tax evasion, Luxembourg confirmed Wednesday it would implement rules on the automatic exchange of bank account information with its EU partners from 2015.

“We can introduce the automatic exchange of (bank account) information without any danger from January 2015,” Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said.

The country’s important financial services sector — which critics say has benefited from a strong tradition of bank secrecy to attract funds — was ready for the change, Juncker said.

“The financial sector does not depend totally on bank secrecy,” he said, adding: “The lights are not going to go out” with the change.

Juncker insisted that Luxembourg did not make its living “off dirty money or tax evasion,” adding that there had been heavy pressure from the United States.

Under current EU rules — already agreed to by Luxembourg — countries are supposed to help each other combat tax evasion by ensuring the exchange of bank account information.

In January 2015, the rules change to make such information exchanges automatic and across a wider spectrum to include shell companies, life insurance, pension and property investments.

Earlier this week Luxembourg Finance Minister Lux Frieden suggested the country was ready for radical change on bank secrecy, appearing to isolate Austria, another holdout on the 2015 commitment.

But Frieden later insisted that “these reflections are not new,” stressing the importance of a new US law covering international tax data expressly aimed at clamping down on US tax evasion through a far-reaching exchange of customer bank information.