The Netherlands request info on Dutch-held accounts in Swiss bank UBS

26th September 2015, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands have requested information on a large number of Swiss bank accounts held by residents of its country in connection with a tax probe, Swiss authorities confirmed Saturday.

Swiss tax authorities received a request from their Dutch counterparts in July for access to information about all accounts in Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, held by residents in the Netherlands between February 2013 and December 2014, according to a document posted on their website.

Only information on the accounts of people who had not already provided the bank with proof that they had paid their dues to the Dutch taxman was needed, according to the request.

A spokesman for the Swiss finance ministry told AFP no decision had yet been taken on whether to grant the petition.

Switzerland's long-sacrosanct banking secrecy laws in the past made it impossible for countries to file such broad requests for account information.

But under international pressure, the secrecy laws, which once made the country's banks a haven for wealthy foreigners wishing to hide their assets from tax administrations back home, are being phased out.

Swiss officials, which along with the country's vital banking sector are working to clean up the system and make it easier for countries to crack down on tax cheats, had since 2009 made several exceptions to the secrecy laws in order to approve broad information requests from Washington.

But the Dutch appeal, which was made possible by a Swiss law provision that took effect last year, marks the first such broad request from outside the United States, the Le Temps daily reported Saturday.

Several experts the newspaper spoke with meanwhile voiced concern that the Dutch request was so broad and unprecise it amounted to a "fishing expedition," which is still frowned upon under Swiss law.


© 2015 AFP

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