• Switzerland's news in English

Swiss president against banking secrecy changes

The Local/AFP · 14 Apr 2013, 23:47

Published: 14 Apr 2013 23:47 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Now is a "dangerous time for Switzerland (but) unlike Luxembourg, Switzerland is not part of the EU" and it meets Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development criteria, Maurer said in an interview published on Sunday.
Luxembourg, home to a prized financial centre, changed tack last Wednesday 
in the face of growing international pressure over tax evasion, agreeing to the automatic exchange of bank account information with its EU partners from 2015, he told the Swiss weekly Le Matin Dimanche.
Banking secrecy is "comparable" to medical confidentiality, Maurer said, 
adding: "The state must absolutely respect the private sphere" and should not know "what there is in your bank account".
Maurer said that Switzerland has already made concessions, noting that 
honouring the United States' Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act led to the lifting of banking secrecy for US customers of Swiss banks.
Moreover, "banking secrecy no longer has as much importance as two or three 
years ago," he said.

"The banking centre's strength also has to do with Switzerland's political stability, its reliability and its credibility."
Internal pressure, however, could force Switzerland to change position, he 
When asked about wealthy foreigners who profit from Switzerland's banking 
secrecy practices to avoid taxes, Maurer said: "In each system there are ways to slip through  the holes of the net. We must correct these flaws."

Maurer said that Swiss politicians have right to privacy just like other citizens of the country.

For that reason, he said, he was not in favour of Swiss government members having to disclose their assets, as is being proposed by the French government under President François Hollande.

Maurer said he was happy to make public his own assets.

Early in his career, he said, he did not earn much money and he has six children, of which three are still students.

"I have a house with a mortgage, and a car, a Subaru nine years old, and nine bicycles."

He added that he also had a "super" pair of cross country skis, "but I live simply".

Story continues below…

Among other revelations, Maurer said he did not watch television and did not follow foreign news.

"I do not pass my time in front of the (TV) screen, I prefer to do sport."

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swiss woman wins headscarf court battle
Photo: Jack Guez / AFP file picture

A Swiss court has ruled against a company that fired a longtime employee after she began wearing the Muslim headscarf, marking one of the first such rulings in Switzerland, media reported Sunday.

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.

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