The Federal Tax Administration has revealed that 450 individuals and companies in Switzerland are connected to the Panama Papers. Whether offshore accounting was used to hide money from the tax authorities remains unclear.
“We have found 450 people – people in the legal and physical sense – who have a link to offshore structures and Switzerland,” spokesman Joel Weibel told Swiss public radio, SRF, on Monday.
The use of offshore entities is not in itself illegal. Weibel said the information on the 450 people would now be passed to the cantons, who will check the names with the corresponding tax files. Until that happens, it won’t be known whether tax evasion has been committed.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) first published the so-called Panama Papers on April 3. They are a 2.6 terabyte trove of leaked data from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
They list the activities of global banks and financial intermediaries on behalf of wealthy clients. The records date back 40 years, containing information on more than 210,000 companies set up in 21 tax haven jurisdictions.
The papers had previously revealed that 1,339 Swiss lawyers, financial advisors and other middlemen had set up more than 38,000 offshore entities over the past 40 years. These entities listed 4,595 officers – or administrators – that are also connected to Switzerland.
Despite subsequent criticism of the secretive offshore financial world, Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer has said on record that Swiss law does not need changing with regards the regulation of offshore entities.
swissinfo.ch and agencies