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GERMANY

Credit Suisse targeted in German tax evasion raids

German prosecutors have conducted hundreds of raids against suspected tax dodgers and Credit Suisse employees believed to have helped them, a news report said.

Credit Suisse targeted in German tax evasion raids

More than 200 raids on homes of suspected tax cheats were conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, the German news agency DPA reported, citing prosecutors in the western city of Koblenz.
   
Employees of Credit Suisse and its Clariden Leu and Neue Aargauer Bank 
subsidiaries were also probed for aiding tax fraud, according to the prosecutors.
   
The raids follow the purchase of a CD containing 40,000 data sets on 
suspected tax-dodgers in Swiss banks.
   
Authorities in the southwestern state of Rhineland-Palatinate announced 
Tuesday they had bought the data for four million euros ($5.3 million) and hope to recover tax revenues worth 500 million euros nationwide.
   
Credit Suisse said it has been urging its German clients to settle their 
tax situation.
   
"We've been telling our German clients to settle their tax situation and if 
there is a problem, to solve it," said a Credit Suisse spokesman.
   
Germans were long among the top clients for Swiss banks, but following 
increasing pressure from German tax authorities a number of Swiss banks are apparently shifting their strategy.
   
Earlier this month the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger reported that Credit 
Suisse and Julius Bär banks sent their German clients letters demanding they submit proof their accounts were declared to German tax authorities or have them closed.
   
A mooted tax deal between the two countries would have resolved the 
situation by having Switzerland's notoriously secretive banks paying a tax rate of 26.4 percent on German holdings.
   
However the deal was blocked by Germany's upper house — the Bundesrat —
for failing to go far enough against tax dodgers.
   
Germany has been at the forefront of a push against tax havens and offshore 
banking and took a tough line in the bail-out talks for debt-hit Cyprus, charging that Russian tycoons have used the island's banks to dodge taxes and launder dirty money.
   
German authorities have previously purchased such CDs, a practice an 
association representing German taxpayers charges amounts to shady deals with criminals who are offering the data.
   
After similar such operations in the past, many German customers with Swiss 
bank accounts were urged to turn themselves in and pay taxes they had evaded.

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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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