Netherlands seek Swiss help on tax dodgers
AFP · 27 Sep 2015, 10:50
Published: 27 Sep 2015 10:50 GMT+02:00
- Greek minister slams Swiss over tax evasion (24 Jun 15)
- UBS trader in UK's biggest fraud out of jail (24 Jun 15)
- Switzerland signs tax evasion accord with EU (27 May 15)
Swiss tax authorities received a request from their Dutch counterparts in July for access to information about all accounts in Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, held by residents in the Netherlands between February 2013 and December 2014, according to a document posted on their website.
Only information on the accounts of people who had not already provided the bank with proof that they had paid their dues to the Dutch taxman was needed, according to the request.
A spokesman for the Swiss finance ministry told AFP no decision had yet been taken on whether to grant the petition.
Switzerland's long-sacrosanct banking secrecy laws in the past made it impossible for countries to file such broad requests for account information.
The secrecy laws, which once made the country's banks a haven for wealthy foreigners wishing to hide their assets from tax administrations back home, face international pressure to be phased out.
Swiss officials, which along with the country's vital banking sector are working to clean up the system and make it easier for countries to crack down on tax cheats, had since 2009 made several exceptions to the secrecy laws in order to approve broad information requests from Washington.
But the Dutch appeal, which was made possible by a Swiss law provision that took effect last year, marks the first such broad request from outside the United States, the Le Temps daily reported on Saturday.
Several experts the newspaper spoke with, meanwhile, voiced concern that the Dutch request was so broad and imprecise it amounted to a "fishing expedition," which is still frowned upon under Swiss law.