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According to Heim, the United States is by no means the only place where Swiss high finance and the country's banking secrecy laws are coming under growing pressure. Foreign authorities around the globe are increasingly taking sharper action against tax evaders. Swiss financial institutions, often in tandem with partners in Liechtenstein, play a central role in helping the ultra-rich avoid paying billions in taxes.
An almost unimaginable fortune of more than €3 trillion ($4.7 trillion) is currently sitting in Swiss bank accounts. The discreet Swiss allow vast amounts of money to disappear into trusts, offshore companies and bank accounts, money that is often protected by Switzerland's banking secrecy laws.
"One of the system's strongest advocates is a senior executive with Switzerland's oldest private bank. For Konrad Hummler, a partner in Wegelin & Co., German tax evasion is a legitimate defense by citizens attempting to "partially escape the current grasp of the administrators of a disastrous social welfare state and its fiscal policies."