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(Bloomberg) -- BSI, the Swiss unit of Assicurazioni Generali SpA that’s being acquired by Grupo BTG Pactual, said it’s blocking some Italian clients from making cash withdrawals and bank transfers.
“BSI adopted, in some specific cases, some restrictions to cash withdrawals and bank transfers in order to protect the interests of clients, employees and the bank itself,” the bank said Friday in an e-mailed response to questions.
Switzerland and Italy are moving toward an automatic exchange of information on bank accounts and Italians can participate in a program to voluntarily disclose undeclared assets held in Swiss offshore accounts. The measures reflect similar steps by other Swiss banks and were taken following a new tax accord between Switzerland and Italy, the Lugano, Switzerland-based private bank said. BSI declined to say which Italian clients were affected or the amounts involved.
Switzerland and Italy agreed in principle on revised cooperation in tax matters, according to a Jan. 16 Swiss government statement. Both countries are moving toward an automatic exchange of information on bank accounts and Italians can participate in a program to voluntarily disclose undeclared assets held in Swiss offshore accounts.
Lugano, in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino in southern Switzerland, is about an hour’s drive from Milan. Ticino’s banking industry shrank after Italy introduced tax amnesties starting in 2001 that encouraged citizens to repatriate undeclared funds.
BSI said in 2013 that less than a quarter of its clients are Italian and that it opened a new branch in Milan for domestic Italian customers. The bank had 91.4 billion Swiss francs ($98.3 billion) under management as of June 30, according to a company statement published in August.
Brazil’s BTG agreed to pay 1.5 billion francs to acquire the business from Italian insurer Generali in July.
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