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No assistance in stolen bank data cases

The cabinet has adopted a new ordinance setting out when it will or will not cooperate with other countries requesting assistance in cases of suspected tax crime.

This content was published on September 1, 2010 - 19:26

In a statement on Wednesday, the government said that requests for administrative assistance would be rejected if they are “based on information which was obtained or forwarded due to actions which are punishable under Swiss law”.

Recently, there have been cases of client data stolen from Swiss banks or Swiss branches of foreign banks which were offered to, and in some cases bought by, the authorities in European countries including Germany and France.

The ordinance also forbids assistance to governments in cases of fishing expeditions (where tax authorities trawl for data on the off-chance of uncovering evasion or fraud).

The cabinet said the Administrative Assistance Ordinance governs the implementation of such aid in new or revised double taxation agreements (DTAs) in accordance with the standard of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

If a request for administrative assistance is submitted on the basis of a DTA, “then the Federal Tax Administration will conduct a preliminary examination,” the statement said. “The prerequisite for the request is that it is in line with the principle of good faith.”

Parliament approved ten new accords on double taxation in June, which were a key condition for being removed from the OECD’s “grey list” of tax havens. Under the agreements Switzerland is easing banking secrecy rules and grants legal assistance in suspected cases of tax evasion, not only over tax fraud.

The new ordinance will only apply to requests within the scope of the new or revised DTA’s, the cabinet added.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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