Swiss fortress starved
Swiss fortress starved
Switzerland agreed to unveil the secrecy of banking customers. To break the Swiss stubbornness regarding the inviolability of account holders was obtained from the US tax office. It is assumed that only suspicious persons will be affected, but how it will be in practice is a big question. One thing is clear – the reputation of Swiss banks will be undermined.
Water sharpens a stone. The success of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service more than proved the truth of this saying, and its employees insistently demanded that Switzerland disclose the details of customers of local banks whose activities in the homeland raise serious suspicions. As a result, a draft law was prepared in Switzerland that allows banks to open information on US citizens who hold accounts in a Western European country, as well as on third parties connected with them by financial relations. This document will be considered by parliament next week, and if adopted, the law will enter into force on July 1 of this year, Gazeta.ru reports.
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It should be noted that the United States used very skillful leverage to achieve the goal. Swiss banks in case of refusal to cooperate with the US Internal Revenue Service may be fined for assistance in tax evasion, and the amount of fines is not limited to anything, which means the States can give any number. “If banks are not allowed to cooperate with the US authorities, it is impossible to exclude the possibility of initiating criminal cases and criminal charges against banking institutions,” Kommersant quotes a statement from the Swiss Ministry of Finance in connection with the proposed bill.
In the light of such threats, one must think that the very well-off owners of Swiss banks were not well sucked in the stomach. At least, according to the Association of Swiss Banks, large institutions have already taken care of reserves in case of unexpected claims from the United States. So, Credit Suisse set aside “just in case” $ 307 million, but less affluent banks, such as Julius Baer, even scratching their guts, are unlikely to find anything. Meanwhile, the Swiss authorities, anticipating timid views in their favor from the holders of local banks, announced in advance that the government would not allocate a single franc to solve problems with the United States.
However, soon, apparently realizing that it’s grossly turned out, the authorities thought about how to help local banks quickly get even with the obsessive Americans. The result of these thoughts was the development of the bill. The secrets of the owners of Swiss accounts, however, will be revealed only slightly and far from the first call. The name, account number and balance will still be protected, and in order to get a key to this information, US tax officials will have to go through complex procedures. The bill, according to the assurances of the Swiss government, will be valid for a whole year, during which it is supposed to restore stability in the financial sector, which has been shaken due to the prolonged tax conflict with the United States. But a logical question arises – after the expiration of the bill, will Switzerland be able to restore the reputation of its banks, which have long been considered an impregnable fortress for customers?
“Naturally, the leak of banking data will play against the business reputation of Switzerland and its banking sector – however, amid growing speculation that banking secrets will sooner or later be removed both in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein, for example, a small concession to the American intelligence services may be and not seen on a global scale, “Anna Bodrova, an analyst at Investcafe, shared her opinion with Bigness.ru.
At the same time, the expert is sure that it is not necessary to raise a panic around the “dash” of the clientele from the banking sector of Switzerland to similar structures in other countries. “It’s hardly worth mentioning now that capital will rush to leave Swiss accounts – this is only a clear list of suspicious persons. As for the new location of the most nervous capital owners, these may be accounts, for example, in Hong Kong or Taiwan,” summarizes Anna Bodrova.