• Switzerland's news in English

Swiss must stop helping tax cheats: top banker

AFP · 3 May 2012, 13:53

Published: 03 May 2012 13:53 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Switzerland must shed its role as a bank haven for tax cheats and end disputes with foreign tax authorities, the chairman of the country's biggest bank UBS said on Thursday.

"Switzerland ought not to be a financial centre for tax evaders. The financial sector cannot become involved in tax crimes," said Kaspar Villiger, chairman of the board at UBS, in prepared remarks for the bank's annual general meeting.

"For years, banking confidentiality was a key part of the Swiss financial centre's appeal," he added.

"Other states are no longer prepared to accept their citizens evading tax in this way. This paradigm shift occurred unexpectedly quickly and with enormous force. Switzerland was forced on the defensive and has had to ward off attacks from all sides.

"Banking confidentiality is increasingly losing its legitimacy."

Switzerland has come under attack in recent years for the secrecy of its banking sector and charges it helped foreign clients evade taxes at home.

Prosecutors in France are investigating whether UBS helped French nationals dodge taxes, and officials in the United States are investigating 11 Swiss banks on suspicion they encouraged their clients to channel undeclared assets into Swiss accounts.

The US already forced UBS to pay a $780-million fine and hand over details on more than 4,000 clients in a 2008 tax evasion case, and in January indicted three Swiss bankers accused of hiding $1.2 billion in assets.

Switzerland has recently signed deals with Austria, Britain and Germany to toughen up penalties on tax cheats.

Villiger, who is set to step down and be replaced by ex-German central bank chief Axel Weber at the meeting, endorsed the idea of a final withholding tax -- the deal negotiated with Austria, Britain and Germany -- but rejected automatically exchanging bank information with other countries.

Story continues below…

"Swiss banks must not serve as the extended arm of foreign tax authorities," he said.

He also insisted deals with other countries put all old grievances to rest.

Switzerland "must not accept a solution which provides no reasonable means of regularising the past," he said.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

2012-06-01 13:49:22 by smeghead
UBS & CS are run by american's, this is just a smoke screen to take peoples minds of what really is happening, companies are advoiding tax so the difference comes from someone, plus while the news is filled with this no one notices the firms not paying tax. there tax would make a difference.
2012-05-05 07:39:03 by Global Macro
They are not tax cheats. They are refugees. They are trying to find a safe haven from the wave of oppressive socialist governments that has spread across Europe and the US.
2012-05-04 12:12:16 by HoppSuisse
This man is corrupt and owned by the US.

The US has 25% of the worlds off-shore banking, England has 25% and Switzerland has about 5%.
And the US is the largest tax haven in the world.
The US does not tax foreign investors in banking and equities but Switzerland does tax foreign investors.

It is obvious that investors do not invest in Swiss banks to ‘cheat on taxes’ as this man claims. They invest here because they want to protect their wealth from confiscation. And what do you think will happen to us if we give up the foreign investors right to privacy?
Don’t believe me? 2012 Bundespräsidentin Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf wants us to change our laws to be like the US (no right to privacy).

This Banker wants to protect his International power and does not care if he destroys his own country in the process.
The US has UBS and CS in its pocket because they threaten to confiscate the assets of the bank branches there.

Here is what to do -
1 - take your money out of UBS and CS 2 – vote out of office all of these corrupt politions (think of what would have happened to us if we would have joined the EU as they wanted). 3 – Put in jail all those who broke our privacy laws.

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available