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Swiss tax evaders come clean in record numbers

Swiss tax evaders come clean in record numbers

ZURICH: Officials in Zurich reported a three-fold rise in the number of tax evaders voluntarily turning themselves in during 2017, as international regulations requiring Swiss banks to share details of offshore clients takes effect. In 2014, Switzerland signed up to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) programme.  Under the agreement, Swiss banks are required to share the financial information of offshore clients with more than 100 countries. As the old Swiss practice of secrecy continues to erode under agreements like the OECD automatic exchange and Fatca, a recent court decision has allowed some bankers to breath a sigh of relief. On 3 January, the Switzerland Federal Court upheld a case to stop the handover of Swiss bank employee details to US federal tax investigators. The case, reported by local news provider Swiss Info, was brought by a US expat in Switzerland who disputed that details obtained from his bank by the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (FTA) could be handed over to US authorities. The court agreed with the expat, and said the information included third-party individuals who were not relevant to the case. They said the FTA had also not provided a convincing argument that the information was vital in building a case against the evader. Additionally, the court found, even if third parties were connected to the fraud, their identities should not be requested through administrative assistance channels.