Swiss dig in heels

High heels Keystone

Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has reiterated Switzerland's objections to automatically exchanging tax information with other countries.

This content was published on April 13, 2013 minutes

In an interview with Le Temps newspaper on Saturday, Widmer-Schlumpf pointed out that the US and many countries in Asia were also resistent to the idea.

Instead, Switzerland has set up a working group to grind out the fine details of how to implement its "weissgeld" - or "clean money" - strategy, designed to weed out money launderers and tax evaders from the financial sector.

"It is conceivable that different standards can coexist," Widmer-Schlumpf told Le Temps, referring to demands - primarily from the EU - for a full-blown exchange of information.

This is unlikely to impress EU finance ministers, who emphasised their intention to crack down on tax evasion at a meeting in Dublin this weekend. Only Austria is so far holding out on an EU-wide information exchange deal, with France threatening to blacklist Switzerland's neighbour.

And European tax commissioner Algirdas Semeta hopes for a mandate to negotiate with other troublesome countries such as Switzerland.


The anti-tax haven message can expect further momentum from meetings of G20 finance ministers and of the IMF, both to be held in Washington next week.

Matthew Allen,

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