Swiss bank Zürcher Kantonalbank said on Wednesday that it is being investigated by US justice for helping American citizens to evade taxes, local media reported.

"/> Swiss bank Zürcher Kantonalbank said on Wednesday that it is being investigated by US justice for helping American citizens to evade taxes, local media reported.

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TAX

US probes Swiss bank ZKB over tax evasion

Swiss bank Zürcher Kantonalbank said on Wednesday that it is being investigated by US justice for helping American citizens to evade taxes, local media reported.

US probes Swiss bank ZKB over tax evasion

The bank told Swiss news wire ATS that it had been informed by regulator FINMA that it was the target of investigations.

Just two weeks ago, Jörg Müller-Ganz, a new member of the bank’s board, said he was confident that the bank would not be targetted by the US justice department.

But Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger said that the bank was one of several Swiss institutions targetted by US tax authorities. Others include Credit Suisse, which has already confirmed that it was being probed, as well as Bank Wegelin and Julius Bär.

The United States has been putting pressure on Switzerland to ease its bank secrecy laws which Washington claims help to shield tax cheats.

In an offensive against Switzerland’s biggest bank UBS in 2008 and 2009, US tax authorities managed to pry 300 client names and a fine of $780 million from the bank.

Dissatisfied, Washington then filed a second suit, which finally forced UBS to hand over data on 4,450 American clients.

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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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