• Switzerland edition
 
Bern seeks US response over alleged bank spying
Edward Snowden. Photo: AFP/The Guardian

Bern seeks US response over alleged bank spying

Published: 11 Jun 2013 15:58 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Jun 2013 15:58 GMT+02:00

The Swiss foreign ministry told AFP that it was aware of media reports about the issue and that it had sent the US embassy in the capital Berne a diplomatic note seeking "clarification".

The ministry also confirmed that Snowden was accredited as a diplomatic attache at the US permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva from March 2007 to February 2009.
   
"The role of members of permanent missions in Geneva is to represent their 
country at international organisations based in Switzerland," the ministry said.
   
"In line with the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations, Switzerland 
expects members of diplomatic missions in Berne and permanent missions in Geneva to respect the laws and rules of the country," it added.
   
Snowden, a 29-year-old technology expert and US government contractor, has 
turned whistleblower to reveal Washington's so-called PRISM programme.
   
The programme enables the National Security Agency to issue directives to 
Internet firms such as Google or Facebook to gain access to emails, online chats, pictures, files and videos uploaded by foreign users.
   
Snowden has said that it was in Geneva — where his diplomatic role was a 
cover for his work for the US intelligence agency, the CIA — that he first considered going public.
   
"Much of what I saw in Geneva really disillusioned me about how my 
government functions and what its impact is in the world," he told the British newspaper The Guardian.
   
"I realised that I was part of something that was doing far more harm than 
good," he added.
   
Snowden claimed there was an operation in which an agent made friends with 
a banker, got him drunk so he was stopped for driving while intoxicated, and then helped him escape legal action.
   
In exchange, the man allegedly spied on Swiss banks to garner data for US 
tax authorities on money stashed abroad by Americans.
   
Speculation is raging in Switzerland's media over the banker's identity, 
amid a debate over a take-it-or-leave-it deal proposed by Washington to fine Swiss banks that allegedly abetted such tax evasion.
   
Discharged from the army after an accident in 2003 just before he could 
deploy to Iraq, Snowden worked at the National Security Agency for various outside contractors, including Dell and Booz Allen Hamilton.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Helicopter crash in Doubs kills five Swiss
The crash happened not far from Montbéliard aerodrome. Photo: Google maps

Helicopter crash in Doubs kills five Swiss

Five Swiss people died and two more were injured on Thursday when their helicopter crashed in France near the border with Switzerland, French officials said. READ  

Swiss winegrowers battle against Asian fruit fly
The harvest starts in earnest this week. Photo: Caroline Bishop

Swiss winegrowers battle against Asian fruit fly

An invasion of Asian fruit flies is likely to slightly diminish the size of grape harvests in Switzerland this month in what is otherwise a good year for Swiss winegrowers. READ  

Father of missing Scot fears Swiss trauma
Missing Fergus McInnes. Photo: Police Scotland

Father of missing Scot fears Swiss trauma

The father of Fergus McInnes, a Scot who disappeared in Switzerland three weeks ago, fears he may have been violently robbed or subjected to a traumatic experience which sparked amnesia. READ  

ETH Zurich retains status in world university list
ETH Zurich remains continental Europe's highest ranked university. Photo: Ed Seymour

ETH Zurich retains status in world university list

Switzerland’s Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich is yet again continental Europe’s top university according to the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2014-15. READ  

FC Basel beat lame Liverpool 1-0 at home
Basel's goal-scoring forward Marco Streller (left) vies with Liverpool's Spanish defender Jose Enrique during match. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

FC Basel beat lame Liverpool 1-0 at home

Liverpool became the latest English club to fall victim to FC Basel as the Swiss side triumphed 1-0 in their Champions League Group B clash at the St Jakob-Park on Wednesday. READ  

Woman's potato fall 'not restaurant’s fault': court
Photo: The Local

Woman's potato fall 'not restaurant’s fault': court

A woman who was seriously injured after stepping on a potato in a self-service restaurant in the canton of Zurich has failed to get a court to back her complaint, while a judge warned that it was up to customers to watch where they were walking. READ  

Foreign women have rising share of newborns
Photo: Waltraud Grubitzsch/AFP/Getty Images

Foreign women have rising share of newborns

More than one in three babies were born in Switzerland last year to foreign mothers, a proportion that has doubled in the past 20 years, according to government figures. READ  

National tax planned to cut water micropollutants
The Terre Sainte sewage treatment plant in the canton of Vaud. Photo: Canton of Vaud

National tax planned to cut water micropollutants

Starting in 2016, an annual tax of up to nine francs ($9.43) per resident will help finance equipment in around 100 sewage treatment plants across Switzerland to prevent microscopic pollutants from flowing into lakes and rivers. READ  

UBS pays €1.1-billion bail in French 'tax fraud' case
Photo: UBS

UBS pays €1.1-billion bail in French 'tax fraud' case

Swiss banking giant UBS has made a €1.1-billion ($1.4-billion) bail payment for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a lawyer for the bank said on Tuesday. READ  

Senior dupes European court in suicide snafu
Photo: AFP

Senior dupes European court in suicide snafu

The European rights court on Tuesday withdrew its criticism of Switzerland's assisted suicide laws after it emerged an octogenarian who filed the initial complaint had duped both the court and her lawyer in the case. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
Scientific study rings alarm over wellbeing of Swiss cows with bells
Business & Money
Switzerland's residents top world financial wealth list: Allianz report
National
Saint Maurice abbey in Valais celebrates 1,500 years of history
National
Streaming movie video service Netflix arrives in Switzerland
National
Professional Chilean base jumper dives to death in Swiss Alps
Education
ETH Zurich remains top university in Europe: QS world rankings
National
Switzerland's housing vacancy rate jumps: new federal figures
National
Swiss football club fires team masseuse over explicit sex video
National
Geneva police arrest easyJet passenger over hand luggage row
Business & Money
Latest forecasts for Swiss economic growth turn less bullish
Sport
Formula One legend Schumacher to continue treatment at Swiss home
National
Former federal planning official calls for nine Swiss cantons
Features
The Local gets the lowdown on mushroom picking in Switzerland
National
Virgin boss Richard Branson's son rescued from peak of Matterhorn
National
Swiss President Didier Burkhalter's commute turns Twitter sensation
Features
High-tech cameras give dizzy view of Eiger's north face (VIDEO)
Politics
Baden municipal council strips 'nude selfies mayor' of duties
Business & Money
Switzerland stays atop competitiveness table for sixth year
National
Federal parliament secretary agrees to step down over nude selfies
National
Swiss residents pick Swedes as ideal European soul mates: survey
National
Zurich officials call project to move prostitutes to 'sex boxes' a success
National
Swiss gays recognized as parents of child born to surrogate mother
Health
Increase in mountain bike accidents keeps Swiss hospitals busy
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

2,110
jobs available