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Tax breaks

Minister denies any wrongdoing

Defence Minister Guy Parmelin is facing criticism of the lack of transparency over parliamentary plans to exempt certain land sales from taxes.

The tabloid Blick revealed that Parmelin pleaded in favour of fiscal privileges for farmers selling plots of land although his own family could be a potential financial beneficiary of a legal amendment.

At a news conference on Friday, Parmelin, a former farmer, denied any conflict of interest and downplayed the financial impact of potential sales for him.

He said he did not inform his six fellow cabinet ministers of any potential bias as his position on the issue was known from when he was a parliamentarian.

Parmelin said it has been a matter “close to my heart” ever since the Federal Court in 2011 tightened tax regulations.

He added that he did not consider it necessary to temporarily withdraw from discussions in the cabinet in March.

The bill is currently pending in parliament.

After his election to the government last December, Parmelin sold a plot of wine-growing land near Lake Geneva to his brother but under certain circumstances he could still benefit financially from the land deal.

Next week, a parliamentary control committee is set to examine Parmelin’s explanations as well as the leak of the confidential information to the media.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch



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