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GERMANY

UBS data snapped from computer screen: report

A tax-dodging spat involving the Swiss bank UBS and Germany took a fresh twist after a Swiss daily reported on Tuesday that German authorities were using simple photos taken by a UBS worker of an office computer screen.

UBS data snapped from computer screen: report
Photo: UBS

"The data was photographed from a (computer) screen and pieced together bit by bit," lawyer Jorg Schauf, representing a UBS client, told the Tages Anzeiger.

Describing the quality of the information obtained by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia as "remarkable", Schauf blamed the "work of an internal source" for the leak.

Many banks have worked to shore up internal security protocols since client's private information began to find its way to German tax investigators in 2007, which this latest method circumvents.

"Everything is in (the photographs)," said Schauf, including a complete overview of clients' assets, their wealth before and after the global
financial crisis and the names of their advisers at the bank.

The data handed over contains information on assets worth more than 3.5 billion francs ($3.8 billion), with the most recent information dating back to March 2010, the daily reported.

New procedures are being introduced at the bank, a UBS spokesman said.

A tax deal between the two countries aimed at ending such exchanges is proving elusive after Germany's upper house — the Bundesrat — blocked ratification last month.

Under the terms of the double taxation agreement signed by ministers from both countries earlier this year, German citizens with assets parked in Switzerland's notoriously secretive banks faced paying a tax rate of 26.4 percent on their holdings.

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TRAVEL

Travel: Are neighbouring countries still open to Swiss tourists?

Borders between Switzerland and its neighbours are open. But given high coronavirus infection rates, border nations have tightened their entry requirements.

Travel: Are neighbouring countries still open to Swiss tourists?
Good old days in Paris. Photo by AFP

Yes, people from Switzerland can still to go to France, Germany, Italy and Austria, but it is not as easy as it was before the second wave of Covid-19 swept the entire region.

Of the four states bordering Switzerland, Austria is the easiest to enter.

For the time being, it does not restrict travellers from Switzerland. The borders remain open and no quarantine or Covid test is required for Swiss residents.

Like Austria, Italy has not to date implemented any access restrictions or quarantine requirements for Switzerland. The only condition set by the Italian authorities is that each person entering the country must complete a form declaring that they have not tested positive for Covid-19. Otherwise, it is necessary to observe a 14-day quarantine. 

However, before travelling south of the border keep in mind that Italian cinemas and theaters are closed, and restaurants must stop serving their customers at 6 pm. The authorities have also imposed a night curfew from 10 pm until 5 am.


READ MORE: How will lockdowns in France and Germany affect Swiss residents? 

 

France

Since October 30th, France has been in lockdown, which will last until at least December 1st. As such, travel on French territory is prohibited, except in well-defined cases — including trips to get to work, trips to buy essential goods, or trips for compelling family reasons — and on presentation of an ‘exit certificate’.

Germany

Unlike France, Germany has not implemented a new shutdown. However, restaurants, bars and leisure facilities like theaters and cinemas are closed until December.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said last week that the country's borders with its neighbours, including Switzerland, would remain open.

Gemany already placed Switzerland on its quarantine list on October 22nd, because Swiss Covid infection rates exceed those of its neighbour.

This means that anyone who enters from Switzerland must be tested on arrival in Germany. The tested person must then quarantine until the result comes through.

But the German state of Baden-Württemberg, which borders Switzerland, exempts Swiss arrivals from quarantine, under some conditions.

For example, those crossing the border from Switzerland to visit family and friends will be permitted to do so without quarantine, provided they do not stay longer than 48 hours. 

Baden-Württemberg's authorities are also allowing residents of Appenzell, Aargau, Basel, Basel-Country, Jura, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich to come to Germany without being tested, as long as they stay no longer than 24 hours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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