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Swiss president slams US tax tactics

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Swiss president slams US tax tactics
World Economic Forum
14:00 CEST+02:00

Swiss president Micheline Calmy-Rey has described as “legally unacceptable” the increasing demands from US tax authorities for data from Switzerland on alleged tax evasion by Americans.

“These means are too drawn out, legally unacceptable or politically unjustifiable”, Calmy-Rey was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in a speech given to Swiss diplomats yesterday at a conference in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The US authorities are currently investigating several Swiss banks who helped American citizens to hide money from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service).

Calmy-Rey said the existing tax deal and procedures, agreed with the US after UBS was proven to have aided tax evasion, remain sufficient.

Calmy-Rey said Switzerland did not accept US pressure to tell the administration which legal procedures it should use to transfer information.  

“I don’t think there’s an agreement on the table,” Donald Beyer, US ambassador to Switzerland, told Bloomberg, “The Americans and Justice, the IRS, and certainly the Swiss leaders would like to find a solution that works for everybody.”

In the same speech, Calmy-Rey also said she wants to clear the way for new agreements with the EU, an entity that is of utmost economic and political importance to Switzerland.

“Institutional obstacles must not block the bilateral treaty with the EU“, she said. 

The conference also focussed on positioning Switzerland on the international stage, meeting the challenges of interest-driven and pressure group politics in times of increasing globalisation, and sustainable development, according to a Swiss government statement.

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