Swiss Finance Minister Hints At Agreement With US Over Bank Accounts

Swiss finance minster Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf indicated that Washington wanted to end spat over foreign accounts. Photograph: Matej Divizna/EPA

Swiss Finance Minister, Widmer-Schlumpf, believes an agreement to solve the issue of rich Americans using offshore bank accounts to dodge taxes can be reached before November’s White House run-off.

theguardian

A top Swiss government official has said a long-running dispute with America over the country’s secretive banking system could be over by the time of the US presidential election.

In an interview with the Basler Zeitung newspaper, finance minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf indicated that Washington was keen on ending the spat, which is part of an American attempt to crack down on wealthy citizens using Swiss banks to dodge taxes.

Widmer-Schlumpf told the newspaper there could be an agreement to solve the problem before November’s White House run-off.

“My impression at the moment is that the US wants a solution by the elections. Both sides endeavour to find a solution in the foreseeable future,” Widmer-Schlumpf said.

At the moment 11 Swiss banks, including global brand names like Credit Suisse and Julius Baer, are being probed by US investigators who are seeking to stop rich Americans using offshore bank accounts to skip paying domestic taxes.

The move has angered the Swiss, who want an agreement to keep US officials away from the rest of its powerful banking sector and head off potential prosecutions.

Switzerland wants the investigation dropped as part of a deal in which the remainder of its 300 or so banks will be shielded in exchange for the payment of fines and the transfer of the names of thousands of US clients.

Read the whole story: theguardian

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