Published: 11 Nov 2012 19:17 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 11 Nov 2012 19:17 GMT+01:00
French tax agents regularly travel to Switzerland without authorization from Swiss officials to investigate French citizens suspected of tax evasion, a Swiss newspaper says.
Agents working for France's National Directorate of Tax Investigations (DNEF) make covert, and very illegal, reconnaissance missions without
informing Swiss authorities, Le Matin reported on Sunday, quoting several unnamed agents.
"We are not allowed to go to Switzerland without an official mission order," one of the agents told the paper.
"However, nothing stops us from going on a weekend trip to Geneva to admire the Jet d'Eau," the agent said, referring to the city's massive fountain, a famous landmark.
He explained that Swiss authorities in recent years had been very slow to respond to French requests to pursue their investigations in Switzerland.
"In this context, we are tempted to go get the information for ourselves," he said.
Such missions were always carried out when an agent was officially on holiday, using a personal credit card for all expenses and often travelling with a friend or family member, according to the report, based on a number of interviews carried out in September and October.
Once in Switzerland, the agents would look, for instance, at businesses belonging to French taxpayers to make sure they have actual offices, employees and clients and are not just shell companies, the report said.
Switzerland's attorney general Michael Lauber meanwhile told the paper he was aware of the illegal French missions.
But he said it was very difficult to come up with the proof necessary to open an official investigation.
DNEF, meanwhile, refused to comment when Le Matin confronted it with the information.
After going undefeated throughout the world ice hockey championship tournament, Switzerland finally succumbed to home town favorite Sweden in the final, losing 5-1 in Stockholm on Sunday. READ () »
Switzerland will play hosts Sweden in the final of the world ice hockey championships on Sunday after each side registered a 3-0 semi-final victory over the United States and Finland respectively. READ () »
Jewellery worth more than $1 million made by Swiss luxury watchmaker and jeweller Chopard and due to be loaned to stars walking the red carpet at the Cannes film festival were stolen from a hotel, French police said on Friday. READ () »
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang embarks this weekend on his first foreign trip since taking office, with a stop in Switzerland on the itinerary and free trade talks between the two countries close to completion. READ () »
The Salvation Army band carrying Switzerland’s hopes into the Eurovision Song Contest was vanquished on Thursday night in Malmö, Sweden. READ () »
More than a third of Geneva’s active working population lives outside the canton, with the majority residing in neighbouring France and the rest largely in the canton of Vaud, according to a report issued on Thursday. READ () »
International Cycling Union (UCI) president Pat McQuaid can count on the support of the Swiss federation in his bid for re-election, the sport's global governing body said on Thursday. READ () »
Switzerland headed to the world ice hockey championship semifinals after a 2-1 win over the Czech Republic on Thursday in Stockholm. READ () »
The chairman of newborn mining and commodities giant Glencore Xstrata, John Bond, was on Thursday axed by its annual general meeting in Zug, just weeks after the Swiss-based group was created via a merger of two key players. READ () »
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has nominated former Kenyan minister and member of parliament Mukhisa Kituyi to lead the UN's Geneva-based trade and development body when the current chief steps down at the end of August. READ () »