• Switzerland edition
 

Worst may be over in Swiss tax row: US envoy

Published: 17 Feb 2012 09:16 GMT+01:00

Swiss-US relations over a tax dispute reached their lowest point with the indictment of the country's oldest bank Wegelin and should improve, the US ambassador to Switzerland said on Thursday.

"My sense is that weve already hit the low point, with the Wegelin indictment," Donald Beyer told Swissinfo, the international branch of the national broadcaster, in an interview about bilateral relations.

US tax officials have pressured Swiss banks to release information about clients who are US nationals and who might be evading taxes and reports say 11 Swiss banks are being targeted by US authorities.

In January, three Wegelin bankers were charged in New York with conspiring to help US clients escape tax payments.

"The other banks seem eager to participate and to cooperate. In the newspapers recently you saw both Credit Suisse and Julius Bär eager to say we want to come forward and help in any way we can," said Beyer.

The ambassador said he believed banks involved in the row would turn over data if allowed to under Swiss law.

"So far they dont feel that they are allowed to and are awaiting a resolution between the two governments."

Admitting that "there is tension," Beyer stressed that what was happening was not "an attack on Swiss banks" but rather "...an attempt to hold a couple thousand Americans who cheated on their taxes in the United States accountable for paying their taxes."

Wegelin, which was founded in 1741, announced on January 27th the sale of its non-US activities to fellow Swiss bank Raiffeisen "as a consequence of the increasingly threatening situation surrounding Wegelin & Co Private Bankers in the US tax dispute."

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Refugee agency raises alarm on Nigeria attacks
UN Refugee Agency headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Jungpionier/Wikimedia Commons

Refugee agency raises alarm on Nigeria attacks

Up to 50 people were killed in an attack carried out by suspected Boko Haram Islamists in a northeast Nigeria border town this week, a Geneva-based United Nations agency said on Friday. READ  

Ikea head's family listed as Switzerland's richest
Ingvar Kamprad: his family's fortune is still regarded the biggest in Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/File

Ikea head's family listed as Switzerland's richest

The founder of Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, may have left Switzerland for his Swedish homeland but his family is still judged to be the wealthiest in the country, according to an annual list issued by Swiss business magazine Bilanz. READ  

Argentina charges HSBC for tax evasion 'scheme'
Photo: AFP

Argentina charges HSBC for tax evasion 'scheme'

Argentina's tax agency says it has charged British bank HSBC with helping more than 4,000 Argentines to commit tax evasion by stashing money in secret Swiss accounts. READ  

Bern museum issues list of Nazi-looted artworks

The Bern Museum of Fine Arts published on Thursday the first list of the more than 1,500 artworks hoarded during the Nazi era that it inherited from a German recluse. READ  

WTO agrees to enact first global trade reform deal
WTO chief Roberto Azevedo: 'We are back on track!" Photo: WTO

WTO agrees to enact first global trade reform deal

Ending months of deadlock, the Geneva-based World Trade Organization agreed on Thursday to implement the first global trade reform agreement in its 19-year-history. READ  

Bern cathedral set to lose tower scaffolding
Bern's protestant cathedral, shown here with scaffolding, towers over the Old Town. Photo: Berner Münster-Stiftung

Bern cathedral set to lose tower scaffolding

For more than half a century scaffolding has cloaked Switzerland’s tallest cathedral, but in a few weeks most of it will be pulled down as restoration work on the exterior of Bern’s Münster nears an end. READ  

Man admits to strangling girlfriend to death
Town centre of Morges, west of Lausanne. Photo: Malcolm Curtis/The Local

Man admits to strangling girlfriend to death

A 31-year-old man in detention has admitted strangling to death his 25-year-old girlfriend following a dispute in the town of Morges at the end of October, Vaud cantonal police said on Thursday. READ  

Red Cross seeks record budget as aid needs soar
Red Cross chief Peter Maurer. Photo: Junior D. Kannah/AFP

Red Cross seeks record budget as aid needs soar

The Geneva-based Red Cross says it will need a record $1.68 billion (1.26 billion euros) to cover its humanitarian activities next year, amid soaring needs for aid in conflict-hit countries like Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. READ  

Meat firm apologizes over labelling scandal
Carna Grisha delivery trucks. Photo: Carna Grisha

Meat firm apologizes over labelling scandal

Faced with dropping sales in the wake of a scandal about falsely labelled products, Switzerland’s fifth largest meat company, Carna Grisha, has issued an apology and announced measures intended to reassure customers. READ  

Ronaldo goal gives Real Madrid edge over Basel
Ronaldo (left) vies with Basel's Swiss defender Philipp Degen in Wednesday night's match. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Ronaldo goal gives Real Madrid edge over Basel

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 71st Champions League goal as Real Madrid recorded a club record-equalling 15th consecutive win by beating FC Basel 1-0 in Switzerland in the Champions League on Wednesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Activists petition federal government for ban on eating cats and dogs
National
Swiss meat firm faces scandal over alleged false labelling of products
Sport
Federer victory gives Switzerland its first Davis Cup tennis title
National
Switzerland's Christmas market season gets into full swing
Business & Money
Italy's PM upset over Swiss mogul's acquittal in asbestos deaths
Business & Money
University of Zurich study finds 'banker's oath' could spur honesty
Sponsored Article
Exclusive offer: Try out home exchange
National
Swiss National Bank chief calls proposal to boost gold reserves 'fatal'
National
Mudslides kill four people in Ticino and neighbouring Italy
Culture
British X Factor star seeks internet support for Swiss Eurovision place
National
Court overturns ban by backing right for schoolgirl to wear scarf
National
Swiss ranking for English skills worsens among non-Anglo countries
Culture
Swiss model and French TV star Nabilla held for 'attempted murder'
Travel
Switzerland's Zermatt voted best ski resort in the Alps by skiers
Sport
VIDEO: FC Zurich claims crime after 'vicious' tackle hospitalizes player
Tech
Federal government announces new '.swiss' internet domain name
National
Zany emergency: Basel firefighters rescue ass stuck in manhole
Business & Money
American jury clears former UBS top executive of tax fraud
International
Switzerland ranks second to Norway in global 'prosperity' index
National
Financial regulator bans former Coop Bank CEO for three years
International
Switzerland slips in World Economic Forum's gender equality rankings
National
Job candidates unhappy with hiring process in Switzerland
National
Glacier 3000 opens new foot bridge spanning two mountains in Vaud
National
Swiss seek special Unesco heritage listing for yodelling and watchmaking
International
Switzerland regarded as best place in world for expats: global survey
National
Red faces at Migros over Hitler and Mussolini coffee cream pots
National
Quarter of workers in Switzerland 'stressed out': new survey
Travel
Lonely Planet ranks Zermatt among top places to visit in 2015
National
Majority of Swiss back proposed new immigration curbs: poll
Features
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in Swiss monastery town
National
Expat American professor disputes 'unjust' Swiss citizenship rejection
National
Sputtering eurozone drags down Swiss economic growth forecast
Features
Swiss-based English expat writer lauds immigrant 'brains and brawn'
International
Our survey: Switzerland third priciest for food and drink from back home
National
Zurich market gardener sets world 'record' for heaviest pumpkin
National
Report: Switzerland's residents richer than before economic crash
Features
Geneva lab sleuths use high tech to help art world uncover fakes
National
Father of Scot missing since early September fears Swiss trauma
National
Foreign women give birth to rising share of newborns: latest figures
National
'Giant's penis' bloom in Basel uni botanical garden bigger than ever
National
Switzerland's voters reject public health insurance proposal
National
Zooming foreign immigration continues to boost Swiss population
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
National
Geneva MP seeks ban on charging for tap water in restaurants
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,018
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply