BERN: The Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has said on the sidelines of the joint International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings in Washington that the tension over Swiss banks and the United States justice authorities should ease up in 2015.
The minister said she had received positive signals that this year would bring solutions to the conflict, a result of the US Department of Justice (DoJ) crackdown on past tax evasion offences by American account holders at Swiss banks. Talks with DoJ representatives had been “very constructive”, she noted.
She pointed to the recent example of Lugano-based bank BSI, the first Swiss-based bank to complete the non-prosecution programme hashed out between Bern and the US in 2013. “The bank as well as the American authorities were satisfied with it. We see that the programme is working.”
BSI bank was fined $211 million (CHF203 million) for aiding and abetting tax cheats. The deal it struck was relative, she said. “Each bank is in its own individual situation and the American authorities’ programme is an open one. Not everything is fixed, it leaves room for manoeuvre.”