Navigation

Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Swiss banking secrecy under the microscope in new OECD report

Business analysts are awaiting the release of an international report today which places banking secrecy and information laws under the spotlight. Several countries, including Switzerland, are expected to be scrutinised.

Business analysts are awaiting the release of an international report today which places banking secrecy and information laws under the spotlight. Several countries, including Switzerland, are expected to be scrutinised.

The report by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will be keenly analysed at a time when the issues of banking secrecy, tax evasion and access to business information are high on the international agenda.

British proposals for a greater information exchange as a means of combating tax evasion - made by the finance minister, Gordon Brown over the weekend - could have wide-ranging implications for banking secrecy laws in European Union states as well as Switzerland.

The issue is expected to be discussed at an EU summit in June. Although Switzerland is not a member of the EU, the adoption of an information exchange policy would involve Swiss financial institutions, analysts say.

The Swiss finance minister, Kaspar Villiger, on Monday announced the creation of a high-ranking government strategy group to monitor the markets and Switzerland's role as a financial centre.

The catalyst for the creation of the group was the EU's proposals aimed at harmonising taxes on interest accrued from bank accounts. This could involve a cross-border system to deter EU citizens becoming tax refugees.

Villiger has repeatedly said that Switzerland is prepared within the current framework of its withholding tax and banking secrecy laws to make efforts so that Switzerland does not become a haven for EU tax refugees.

The Swiss Bankers' Association and the Swiss government are expected to make formal statements on the OECD report's findings shortly after its release.

swissinfo with agencies



×