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This country may be politically neutral, but the Swiss are girding for battle to protect one of their most cherished values: banking secrecy...
President Hans-Rudolf Merz, who is also the country's finance minister, predicted a domestic political revolt if Switzerland is blacklisted. "This would cause very, very violent reactions in our country," he said...
"We have a tradition of privacy. I don't want the state to sniff into my bank accounts as long as I'm paying my taxes correctly," he said. "I personally feel that we are mature persons and we behave in a reasonable way, and as long as we do so, we should not be followed by state authorities, like George Orwell described in '1984.' "...
Many lawmakers and bankers said that pressure had been building for years on Switzerland but that the global financial crisis gave other countries an excuse to turn the screws.
"We're in an economic war," said Pierre Mirabaud, chairman of the Swiss Bankers Association. "The whole question is about dividing market share among important financial centers. When the whole cake becomes smaller, the fight among financial centers becomes more fierce."...
Hans Kaufmann, a federal legislator and member of the Swiss People's Party, said Switzerland will take a hard line. If the country does not get its way, he said, it could withdraw financing from the International Monetary Fund or European institutions.
Now the Swiss will fight it out over the next months and years no doubt on the political battlefield. The only way that this really goes against the Swiss currently is if the blacklist is applied, but the Swiss government will probably do what is necessary to ensure as much as possible that it is not. In fact, it looks as if the next step the Swiss are mulling is to further differentiate the Swiss model from others. The article itself states, the following: The ASB said however that in renegotiating taxation agreements with nations such as Britain and the United States, Switzerland should demand action in return on certain territories of these countries which it views as tax havens.
Switzerland will keep defending its strict banking secrecy after making some concessions but expects more pressure from a global crackdown on tax havens due to the economic crisis, a minister said on Thursday.
Swiss Economy Minister Doris Leuthard made the comments in a speech in Zurich as the G20 summit in London announced it wanted to fight tax havens that did not share information.
Bundesrätin Calmy-Rey. It was directed towards the OECD and contained encouragement to end the Banking secrecy / privacy. Since then, there's been some tension in our upper-echelon administration
Originally posted by cpdaman
so the swiss benefit from tax cheats in the U.S and europe just like other haven's like in the cayman's do.
The Philippines was among four nations blacklisted as uncooperative tax havens yesterday after Group of 20 leaders declared the age of banking secrecy was over and said they would no longer tolerate shady havens draining away badly needed tax revenue.
At the request of the G20 summit of rich and developing nations, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) named the Philippines, Uruguay, Costa Rica and the Malaysian territory of Labuan as the worst offenders, saying they had refused to adopt new rules on financial openness.
Leaders had agreed to name and shame the countries that refuse to exchange tax information, which could result in tough sanctions – including the withdrawal of financing by the World Bank or International Monetary Fund.
“The time of banking secrecy has passed,” French President Nicholas Sarkozy said following the summit. “Everyone around the table wants an end to tax havens. Everyone knows we need sanctions.”
The announcement reflects mounting concern that banking secrecy in tax havens has helped to worsen the economic crisis by disguising the true value of some global assets. Anti-poverty activists say such places provide corrupt officials places to stash illicit funds, often depriving poor nations of needed resources.
The OECD has divided countries into three categories: those who comply with rules on sharing tax information, those who say they will but have yet to act and nations which have not yet agreed to change banking secrecy practices.
Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which both have strong banking secrecy traditions, said last month they would adopt international rules on tax cooperation and were ready to comply with G20 demands.
Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey criticised the OECD list on Tuesday, saying it was not based on objective criteria. She also complained that countries that, in her view, had shown various degrees of commitment to international data transparency standards were put on the same list as Switzerland. "The criteria (behind the list) are political... There is no qualitative criteria," she told on Swiss television...