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US-Swiss tax deal 'may never happen'

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10:51 CEST+02:00
Top Swiss bankers have voiced doubts that the tax deal with the USA will be completed before the end of the year, with some saying agreement may never be reached.

Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf’s aspirations to conclude a tax deal with the USA before the end of the year are unrealistic, according to the newspaper SonntagsZeitung, Tages Anzeiger Online reported.

While some bankers told the paper they believed any deal would take longer to come to fruition, others said they doubted that the two sides would ever reach agreement.

In any event, the banking world is not expecting to see any developments soon.

“We have indications that any solution has been put off indefinitely,” a banking chief told SonntagsZeitung.

The delay has in part been caused by the US presidential campaign, which has diverted Barack Obama’s attention to re-election issues. Should he lose, it is unclear in which direction negotiations would proceed.

Further, the chief negotiator of the new treaty, US attorney general Eric Holder, has lost credibility after having been caught up in a disastrous campaign against weapon-smuggling.

Additional problems have been caused by the fact that those Swiss banks not on the US target list have refused to assist the eleven banks that are. Further, the banks are becoming increasingly resistant to the idea of sharing data with the US as they believe this will have a negative effect on competition.

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