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The black market for bread is booming. In Geneva, one baguette is currently traded for 15 cigarettes

The black market for bread is booming. In Geneva, one baguette is currently traded for 15 cigarettes

(Keystone)

A change to the constitution intended to improve Switzerland’s reputation as a tax haven has instead been mistakenly ratified as referring to “baking secrecy”.

Patisseries and bakeries around the country are concerned how this legally binding oversight will affect their businesses.

“It could make life very difficult,” Hans Weggli, a baker in Zurich, told swissinfo.ch. “I mean, how do I ensure that no information about my customers is released? Get them to queue wearing balaclavas and pay cash only?”

Others have looked into online baking.

For its part, the Internal Revenue Service, the United States tax authority which has given an ultimatum to 11 Swiss banks to hand over thousands of client names to avoid tax evasion prosecution in the US, says it has “no interest” in “who buys a strudel where and when”.

One pastry chef at a top Geneva restaurant complained he had become the butt of international jokes. “One of my rivals in London called and asked whether I was hiding all my dough in my mattress. Why would I do that? Is he trying to be funny?”

(N.B.: This story was published on April 1...)

swissinfo.ch


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