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Clawing back tax Swiss await Greek input on hidden billions

The amount of Greek money hidden from tax officials' eyes in Swiss accounts could be from anything from CHF30-200 billion

(Keystone)

It’s estimated that billions of francs have been stashed in Swiss bank accounts by Greeks looking to evade taxes at home. The Greek government promised to take vigorous action against such moves, but Switzerland says the ball is still in their court.

Mario Tuor, press spokesperson for the State Secretariat for International Finance Matters told Swiss Public Television, SRF, “We made concrete proposals a year ago about how untaxed money from Greece could be regularised”.

Since then, he added, they had not heard from the old or the new government in Greece concerning the issue.

Finance minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf made an interim proposal in February 2014, said Tuor, as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) automatic exchange of information will come into play in 2017/18.

“There were a number of options,” Tuor said.

A bilateral treaty was one, a voluntary disclosure scheme in Greece was another, with Switzerland giving assistance if possible tax evaders did not come forward.

The Swiss are now waiting for a response from Greece. Tuor commented that the end goal was to prevent hidden money being shifted to “a third country or obscure finance centre”.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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