Trouble For Swiss Secret Bank Account Holders

Published on 3 February 2017 by Raffick Marday

Trouble For Swiss Secret Bank Account Holders

Switzerland is arguably the most notorious tax haven. Though talked about in hushed tones, the country is believed to be the favorite of errant politicians, tax evaders, and criminals when it comes to money laundering. Since the adoption of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters in the early 2000’s requiring countries to share financial information about their citizen’s foreign accounts, Switzerland has been embroiled in several court battles with different countries about aiding foreign nationals in abetting taxation.

Pressure from international community

This hasn’t come at a cost, apart from the amounts used in battling money laundering claims by against her by other countries; the Swiss government has also parted with significantly huge fines. For instance, in 2008, the country was forced to pay over $5.5 Billion to US authorities on allegations that the country helped US citizens avoid paying US taxes by stuffing their incomes in its secret bank accounts.

Currently, the country is embroiled in a €13 Billion legal battle with the French authorities. In the December 2016 case, France accuses the Swiss government of covering up a large scale and systemically organized money laundering scandal. But is the French and the US the only countries pressuring Switzerland into uncovering the laundering skeletons in its Banking system closet? No. There has been a huge outcry from several other nations seeking similar financial disclosures about their citizenry’s financial status in the country.

Bowing to pressure

The pressures from these countries as well as the costs associated with its non-disclosure have forced Switzerland to bow to the international community demands, or so it would like everyone to believe. Earlier in the year, the country announced plans to automatically share banking information with all the other tax convention signatories. However, everyone should note that despite the country being a tax convention signatory, it has on numerous occasions been accused of hoarding tax information from foreign nations. There will, therefore, be renewed on its fulfillment of its most recent declaration in the coming months.

Why is it unwise to open or run a Swiss bank account now?

Major money laundering investigation agencies have been rooting for access to Switzerland bank account records for their citizenry. Given an opportunity, these forces will most likely approach the situation with a lot of speculation and suspicion. In such a case, even your legit business or personal Swiss bank account will be placed and under intensive scrutiny.

Therefore, it is best that you avoid the Swiss bank account, especially if your business or source of funding is questionable. Avoidance here is your only shot at avoiding being caught in the crossfire of protracted court battles with blood-thirsty agencies seeking to make an example of you to all tax evaders.

Multinational companies stand most affected

Most international corporations from wealthy European and other developed nations like Australia and Japan with secret Swiss bank accounts will be the first to bear the investigative heat. Primarily because Swiss authorities will start collecting and sharing their banking information with their respective parent countries in 2018. Legit or otherwise, it is only safe for such companies with Swiss bank accounts to trend carefully and consider financial backups should their finances be frozen during investigations.

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