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French Senate Withdraws Swiss 'Black Listing' Amendment

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

22 December 2009


At the express request of the government, the French Senate has agreed to withdraw an amendment, aiming to include Switzerland on its "black list" of tax havens.

Discussed within the framework of the 2009 supplementary budget, the amendment provided that any jurisdiction failing to ratify their administrative assistance agreement (convention d’assistance administrative) with France would be deemed uncooperative in the ongoing battle against tax havens, and therefore included on the black list.

Although the amendment did not make specific reference to Switzerland, it was clearly aimed at the Swiss government, who recently announced its decision to suspend the parliamentary ratification process of the Franco-Swiss double taxation agreement, in protest against the news that France has recovered – and used – information stolen from the HSBC bank in Geneva.

Outraged at revelations that France has obtained the names of several thousands of French taxpayers suspected of tax fraud by illegal means, Switzerland has further increased pressure on France by demanding restitution of the stolen information by December 25.

French Budget Minister Eric Woerth remains convinced nevertheless that Switzerland will finally agree to sign the double taxation agreement, in order to honor its commitment before the international community.

The 2009 supplementary budget, containing measures specifically designed to combat tax fraud and tax havens, is due to be voted on in parliament before Christmas.


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