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Swiss bank Wegelin fights US summons

AFP · 16 May 2012, 14:30

Published: 16 May 2012 14:30 GMT+02:00

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Swiss bank Wegelin, accused by US authorities of conspiring to help clients escape tax payments, has once again refused to appear before a US court claiming on Wednesday the summons was "invalid."

Wegelin is one of 11 Swiss banks being targeted by US tax investigators in a bitter row over American clients' undeclared assets.

The bank said a summons to appear before a New York court in February "had not been properly served" and announced on Wednesday that it had filed a Swiss court action to dispute a second attempt to bring the bank before a hearing scheduled for May 23rd.

"Apparently conceding that the earlier attempt at service was invalid, the US has now attempted to serve this summons upon the bank by means of international mutual assistance," said a statement by the bank.

"This attempted service is also invalid for a variety of reasons.

"Accordingly, Wegelin & Co has filed an action in Swiss court to dispute the service."

Story continues below…

Wegelin, founded in 1741 and Switzerland's oldest private bank, announced at the end of January the sale of its non-US activities to fellow Swiss bank Raiffeisen as it battled with US investigators.

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Your comments about this article

2012-05-20 11:13:01 by biloxi
A Swiss Bank or any other bank outside the US. does not have any obligation to support och show any special loyalty to the US. government. The type of bulling and imperialism the US. is engaged in is very harmful for independence, soverenity in the global marketplace. US. does not dare to put pressure on HongKong just because China is to powerful and would not tolerate any interference. Switzerland should tell US. gov. to stay away from Swiss companies or face a freeze on diplomatic contacts, send the US. Ambassador back home, the move could spur same reactions in many countries.
2012-05-17 04:28:32 by Michael
God bless you Switzerland and Wegelin. Your banking system is envied all over the world. Along with your freedom, neutrality, strong currency, and fiscal conservatism. Some day I hope to move to your tiny nation with my wife. I expect the process to be difficult, and worth all the effort.
2012-05-17 02:06:50 by Global Macro
As an American, I hate to see the US government attacking privacy. The rights of our citizens are under attack over here as well. I hope that Switzerland finds a way to restore bank privacy. I do believe that there is a strategy that would work. There is a principle of law in the US that all citizens are to be protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. Before the government may conduct a search, the government must appear in a court and present evidence to a judge to support a finding that there is "probable cause" to believe that a crime has been committed by the person to be searched, and that the search will produce evidence to support a conviction. If that burden of proof is satisfied, the court will issue a search warrant permitting the search. If not, the court will reject the application for a search warrant. I have not understood why Switzerland could not institute a similar legal procedure to protect its banks and its depositors. Just say that if the US first appears in a Swiss court and presents evidence to support a claim of probable cause, the Swiss court will authorize a search of the subject’s accounts. Otherwise, Swiss banks and its depositors are protected from searches. And the government is not entitled to the information. Also, from a public relations perspective, this would be a very appealing strategy. Americans and many others would see the actions of the US as oppressive and overreaching. It would be very defensible and difficult for the US (and other governments) to overcome. It would be a winner from a legal perspective and from a public relations perspective.
2012-05-16 16:35:20 by smeghead
Time the US focused on sorting it's self out, Not chase small banks for small amounts of money. Try Deleware top secret banking there, bahams too
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