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Switzerland and France back on track over tax

Switzerland has reached agreement with France over the fate of stolen bank client data, and is ready to proceed with a stalled double taxation agreement.

The Swiss finance ministry said on Friday that France will not request administrative assistance in obtaining information about suspected tax evaders whose details were contained in data stolen from the Geneva branch of the British HSBC and handed to the French tax authorities at the end of last year.

Furthermore, although France will pass on to other countries information obtained from the stolen data, it will keep Switzerland informed about this.

The ministry said that this agreement, reached in an exchange of letters, had ended the tax quarrel with France. The ratification process for a new double taxation accord, which had been put on ice as a result of the dispute over the stolen data, can now continue.

The accord, making it easier for the two countries to exchange bank customer information, was signed in August. However, it still has to be ratified by parliament.

The ministry said the Senate committee could resume the approval process when it meets again on February 17.

The accord was one of 12 that Switzerland had to sign to get itself removed from a “grey list” of tax havens drawn up in April by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. and agencies


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