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Skating on thin ice

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In the absence of any new big name suspected tax cheats, the Swiss media have concentrated on the role of Swiss lawyers in setting up the global network of secretive offshore trusts for their wealthy clients.

Only a few hundred legal experts out of around 9,000 lawyers in Switzerland are actively engaged in the operation, according to the SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche Sunday newspapers.

But, unlike banks, their activities in the financial world are largely untouched by regulators, allowing them to work under the radar, the newspapers add.

This niche group of lawyers could be skating on thin ice, according to the President of the Swiss Lawyer’s Association, Beat von Rechenberg.

“When someone sets up dozens of offshore structures for wealthy foreigners, there is naturally the risk that they will be targeted by foreign tax evaders,” von Rechenberg told the SonntagsZeitung, adding that this could attract the same unwanted attention from overseas tax authorities that Swiss banks have had to endure.

Matthew Allen,

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR