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Swiss Bankers Attack Britain Over EU Savings Tax Row

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

23 September 2002


Speaking last week, President of the Swiss Bankers Association, Georg Krayer hit out at the UK government in general, and British Ambassador Basil Eastwood in particular, over the current banking secrecy row with the European Union.

Switzerland has come under fire over its refusal to exchange information with other EU member states on the savings interest accrued by non-residents, despite having offered to impose a withholding tax which would essentially serve the same purpose. However, speaking last Wednesday, Mr Krayer pointed out the United Kingdom is not exactly a paragon of transparency, citing the country's convoluted trust structure as an example of this.

He also accused Mr Eastwood of actively lobbying against Swiss interests, a charge which the British diplomat has denied. Speaking to the Swissinfo news service last week, the Ambassador explained that he had not lobbied any more than he would normally do as a representative of the British government, and confided that:

'I'm a little bit concerned that what I have been saying has been misrepresented. If they [the SBA] wish to attack me personally I would be happy to discuss it.'

However, he added that he would hopefully be able to resolve the issue when he met with the SBA President on Friday.

A comprehensive report on offshore banking privacy in several jurisdictions, including Switzerland is available in the Tax-News Reports Shop at http://www.tax-news.com/reportshop/


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