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‘We provided customer data to US’: Credit Suisse

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse on Sunday said it had provided Washington data about its US customers, local media reported.

“Credit Suisse has provided information about US customers” to US authorities, the bank’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Urs Rohner said in an interview in the Swiss weekly NZZ am Sonntag.  

Although he would not say which type of data was transferred, on Saturday evening Swiss Minister of Finance Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said the bank had provided “statistical data” to US authorities.  

“But there was no personal data … that would be a violation of banking secrecy,” she said on national television.  

Credit Suisse, like other Swiss banks, is under pressure from US authorities investigating tax evasion.  

Swiss media have been reporting this week that Washington had given Credit Suisse until Tuesday to provide information on US nationals who might have improperly hidden money in Switzerland.  

“Today, no one questions that American customers had undeclared assets in Swiss banks,” Rohner said in the interview.  

The question, he said, was whether there had been a violation of US law.  

“For us … it has always been clear that the rules and regulations of foreign countries have to be respected,” Roehner said.  

Credit Suisse employees who did not follow these rules, he said, “will be sanctioned”.  

“Our business model is not based on undeclared money,” he added.

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TAX

Switzerland and Italy hope to deliver cross-border worker tax deal ‘by 2021’

Switzerland and Italy have pledged to conclude a long-awaited tax arrangement for cross-border workers by the end of the year.

Switzerland and Italy hope to deliver cross-border worker tax deal ‘by 2021’
Photo: ALESSANDRO CRINARI / POOL / AFP

At a meeting in Rome between Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the two leaders said progress was being made on a cross-border tax arrangement. 

The agreement, originally negotiated in 2015, has as yet not been signed by either state. 

READ: How Switzerland avoided a coronavirus 'catastrophe' by protecting cross-border workers 

A 1974 agreement between the two countries doesn’t define cross-border worker. 

Sommaruga praised Switzerland’s decision to reject an initiative which would have restricted migration from EU countries and perhaps had impacts on cross-border workers. 

“In last Sunday's referendum, the Swiss people once again said that they want the free movement of people. It is a good thing for our country but it is also a good thing for the whole of Europe,” she said. 

“With neighbouring countries, Switzerland has adopted a regional approach excluding border regions and also cross-border workers from the quarantine regime. 

“I hope we can continue like this.”

While Switzerland rejected the migration limitation initiative, Ticino was one of four of Switzerland’s 26 cantons to vote in favour. 

Conte told reporters he hoped a deal was concluded “as soon as possible” and hoped it would be concluded by 2021. 

Conte hailed Italian cross-border workers as essential to the health system in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. 

READ: How Switzerland's cross-border workers are growing in number 

In the canton of Ticino, one in five healthcare workers lives over the border in Italy – approximately 4,000 people. Ticino’s population swells from approximately 360,000 people to 440,000 during an average work day due to cross-border workers from Italy.

Unlike with Italy, Switzerland has struck a tax deal for cross-border workers from neighbouring France, which was amended during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

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