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Tax paradise lost


The offshore tax data leak spilled all over Swiss front pages on Friday (apart from tabloid Blick which focused on 75 facts about asylum YOU MUST KNOW).

 “The baroness, the playboy and her discreet lawyers” might sound like something by Rosamunde Pilcher, but it was the title of a full-page article in Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger explaining how Switzerland helped people like former beauty queen turned euroroyal Baroness Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza place their money in tax shelters.

Another name that popped up in the paper under “rich people who live everywhere and nowhere” was Denise Rich, former wife of Swiss resident and commodities trader Marc Rich. In 2006, Denise Rich, an Austrian citizen, reportedly parked $144 million and her 50-metre yacht in the Cook Islands.

What have Jérôme Cahuzac, Pinocchio, Eve and Pandora got in common, wondered Le Temps in Geneva. Lying was the obvious answer. Its editorial name-dropped everyone from Robespierre to Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Lance Armstrong.

The paper focused on Cahuzac – the former French budget minister who on Tuesday was placed under formal investigation after admitting to holding a secret Swiss bank account containing around CHF730,000 – and asked whether the French government had tried to “instrumentalise” Switzerland when Paris asked Bern on January 24 for financial assistance.

Final thought of the day goes to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung which resignedly reckoned that money is like water – “it always finds a way”.

Thomas Stephens,

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR