Financial Regulatory Forum

Merkel tries to calm tempers in Swiss tax dispute

Wanted in Switzerland

Wanted in Switzerland

By Madeline Chambers

BERLIN, Feb 8 (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Switzerland’s president have agreed that a dispute over stolen Swiss bank account data which Germany wants to buy should not harm ties between the neighbours, her spokesman said on Monday.

Merkel, who spoke to President Doris Leuthard on Saturday in an effort to calm tempers, also recieved assurances Switzerland would continue talks on a double taxation deal that would bring Switzerland into line with OECD standards.

Switzerland’s large private banking industry has been shaken in the last week by German politicians saying they would pay for data on clients of Swiss banks who may have been evading German taxes even if the information was obtained illegally.

“(Merkel and Leuthard) agreed that good neighbourly relations should not be damaged by this ongoing issue,” Merkel’s spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm told a news conference.

German media have reported the data could lead authorities to a 400 million euro tax windfall but the row has also raised the possibility of a diplomatic spat. Swiss politicians have attacked Germany’s plans, one even likening it to bank robbery.

Switzerland, France settle dispute over tax records

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 27 (Reuters) – Switzerland and France settled a row over stolen bank records on Wednesday that was blocking a treaty aimed at helping Paris catch tax cheats.

Switzerland said in December it would freeze the tax treaty talks after French authorities obtained tax-sensitive client information from a former HSBC employee, which it said helped identify 3,000 suspected French tax evaders.

“We have found an agreement,” Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz said after talks with French Budget Minister Eric Woerth on the sidelines of a World Economic Forum meeting.

UBS client wins Swiss appeal against data handover, tax deal in question

ZURICH, Jan 22 (Reuters) – A client of Swiss bank UBS won an appeal to prevent her account data being handed over to U.S. authorities as part of a deal to give details on 4,450 clients to the U.S. taxman, a court said.

The Swiss administrative court said on Friday the existing double taxation agreement with the United States only allowed for data to be disclosed in cases of “fraud or the like”.

While the pilot case throws doubt on whether Switzerland will be able to hand over all of the 4,450 accounts the United States wants, an alternative criterion allowing for the deal to stand if at least 10,000 clients come forward voluntarily could make this irrelevant.

INTERVIEW-Bahamas not planning to change offshore laws -PM

Residents of Ocean Isle Beach stand at the end of a road to watch the tide come in as Tropical Storm Hanna makes its way toward the coast of the Carolinas in Ocean Isle, North Carolina September 5, 2008. Tropical Storm Hanna was off the east coast of Florida as it moves away from the Bahamas toward the Carolina coast. Hanna was located about 110 miles east of Daytona Beach, Florida, and 375 miles south-southwest of Wilmington, North Carolina. REUTERS/Chris Keane (UNITED STATES)    By Tom Brown
    MIAMI, Sept 29 (Reuters) – Bahamas will cooperate with specific investigations into suspected tax evaders and fraudsters but will not change its bank secrecy laws to allow
“fishing” in its offshore finance sector by foreign investigators, the country’s prime minister said on Tuesday. (more…)

UBS tax deal may pave way for bank’s recovery

By Jason Rhodes
ZURICH, Aug 18 (Reuters) – Details of a landmark settlement of the U.S. tax case against Swiss bank UBS are expected this week, which should help the bank restore its image and open the way for the Swiss state to sell its UBS stake. (more…)