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Italian tax deal raises brows for Swiss banks

Italy's parliament approved a measure on Friday to grant amnesty to taxpayers with assets hidden in Swiss institutions and other foreign banks.

The move, part of an anti-financial-crisis package, allows taxpayers to transfer undeclared assets back into Italian banks anonymously and without the knowledge of tax authorities.

A five per cent fee will be levied on incoming assets.

The bill's passage carries large consequences for Switzerland's Italian-speaking canton, Ticino, where Italian authorities estimate €125 billion (SFr188.8 billion) in undeclared assets stand to be repatriated.

That is almost half of the estimated €300 billion in assets Rome believes are cached secretly abroad. Swiss banks hope their Italian subsidiaries will capture the repatriated funds.

The controlling parties could also leave their assets abroad as long as there is an automatic exchange of information with Italy. Switzerland has no such arrangement.

The bill passed with a vote of 270-250, backed largely by Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right Forza Italia party. and agencies


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