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  3. Swiss Bankers Ask EU To Act Against Tax Evasion In Asia As Switzerland's Own Activities Are Scrutinized

Swiss Bankers Ask EU To Act Against Tax Evasion In Asia As Switzerland's Own Activities Are Scrutinized

Ulrika Lomas, Tax-news.com, Brussels

19 December 2000


Yesterday Tax-news.com reported that a delegation from the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) travelled to Brussels last week to hold talks with EU officials on matters including cross-border taxation of savings and banking secrecy. The SBA has not yet revealed details of the two-day meeting, but the European press is reporting that Swiss bankers urged the EU to get Asia to act against tax evasion.

The SBA is reported to have told the EU that it should seek to have Asia's large financial centres adopt the measures against tax evasion it wants other international centres to apply. SBA executive committee president designate, Urs
Roth, told a news conference: 'All large international financial centres, including Asian centres like Hong Kong and Singapore, should be included in the measures the EU wants adopted internationally against tax evasion.'

A European Commission spokesman said that the SBA was not in a position to ask the EU to negotiate with the Asian centres, as the bankers were not an official Swiss government delegation.

Whilst Switzerland has been pointing the finger at Asia, in a separate move the European Commission has been given the go-ahead to begin talks with the Swiss in order to negotiate an agreement to co-operate against fraud, smuggling and other illegal activities which it says are perpetrated from within Switzerland and affect the financial interests of the EU to the tune of several billion euros per year. The Commission says that cooperation will constitute part of its overall relations with Switzerland and be a precondition for further steps towards deepening relations between the Swiss and the EU.

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