Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Swiss Enablers Are Worried, As Well They Should Be (6/4/13)

Swiss enablers are -- or at least perceive that they are -- being thrown under the bus by the Swiss banks.  See Matthew Allen, Lawyers cry foul over bank data transfer (Swissinfo.ch 6/4/13), here.  The article  describes the phenomenon sometimes observed in U.S. corporate criminal investigations.  The employees and other agents are thrown under the bus by the corporation who has an incentive to serve them up to prosecutors.   The corporations and senior management then are protected by an agreement requiring the corporation to pay a huge fine, variously labeled.

Here are some excerpts.
While Swiss banks are in favour of the deal - at the cost of potentially huge fines - lawyers, tax experts and independent wealth advisors oppose the names of alleged third parties to tax evasion business tied to the banks being handed over to the US authorities. Under the terms of the agreement pitched by the cabinet last week, they would not enjoy the same immunity from US prosecution. 
The Chamber of Swiss Tax Advisors immediately condemned the political deal, rushed through by the Swiss government last week to assuage growing US impatience, as “unacceptable” and “disproportionate”. 
 * * * * 
The Swiss Association of Asset Managers said its members would be treated like “second-class citizens” compared to bank executives, who will escape penalty, and lower bank employees who will receive at least some legal protection from the Swiss authorities. 
 The only consolation for the Association was that the mass release of bank information would probably not lead directly to a “great wave of lawsuits”. But only because the US authorities already have names from an earlier, more limited, handover of Swiss bank business correspondence and a host of self-declarations prompted by tax amnesties. 
 The Swiss Association of Trust Companies  continued the theme of ill-will towards the all-powerful large banks. “The upper echelons of bank managers who made all the decisions will not be liable because they are unlikely to have dealt with clients personally,” Association chairman Alexandre von Heeren told swissinfo.ch. “It is others who will pay the price.” 
 Von Heeren is confident that most members of the association have steered well clear of business involving untaxed assets. But he added that some rogue trustees that operate in the shadows may have cause to be concerned.
The article also gives an anecdotal example from an indicted Swiss enabler as follows:
The lawyer worked hand-in-hand with a series of Swiss bankers to hide the assets of wealthy US tax dodgers. He set up trusts and sham companies in Liechtenstein, Panama and the British Virgin Islands to conceal the identity of his client, according to the indictment. 
 The court papers also accused the lawyer of using secretive constructs to move assets from banks under US investigation to other Swiss banks that were thought to be safer.


  1. The big bully Goliath picks on the little David with a sling shot. America is likely the largest, most secretive tax haven in the world, hiding trillions of illegal monies. So, what does it do? It wages a trade war against a small, efficient nation with almost no US banking clients, successfully. It is already near impossible for an American living in Switzerland to have a bank account. Yet, did America warn, assist or even apologize to its own citizens who were harmed with its actions? Of course not. Be transparent on the matter? No way! Justice? Forget it. When are those who run the banks going to be held responsible for their
    crimes, instead of burdening minnows who rely on a monthly paycheck to
    make the ends meet? People living in Switzerland generally obey the laws of the jurisdiction they live under, so why should their details be exported to America, Eritrea or any other diaspora-tax nation? America and Eritrea are the only two. America hasn't been very keen on reciprocity when it involves exporting US data and it certainly won't export data on US citizens to Iran, N. Korea, Cuba or any other nation to combat money laundering. So, America is just being one big hypocritical bully bigot. I'm all for combatting money laundering anywhere in the world, including America, but America really needs to clean its own house instead of harming the innocent with non-transparency and one-sided demands. Where is the justice?

  2. http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/schweiz/der-druck-auf-widmer-schlumpf-steigt-1.18093550

    Will have to translate from German to English..

    This Wednesday morning will probably go down in the history of Parliament, because in the end it was about the fundamental question of how serious the deputies take themselves and the ordinary legislative process. From left to right, it was agreed in Parliament: in principle, it is not so. Virtually all Group spokesman emphasized in the debate in one form or another, that one can not decide laws as a legislature, whose consequences will be left completely in the dark.

  3. The conculsion lets you really see that this battle is less about what is legal and whether or not the US has any jursidiction, they will use their emmense power to do damage.

    “Lawyers’ reputations are their stock and trade,” Michel told swissinfo.ch. “Even if a law firm has no presence in the US, or there is no prospect of them standing in a US courtroom, the Justice Department can inflict enormous damage just by charging them with a criminal offense.”

    All of this because the US politicians can not reign in spending and feel the need to chase people all over the globe in the forelorn hope it will represent more revenues/penalties for the U.S. treasury.

    A friend once said, Tax evasion is always going to be with us, and I would rather have 10% tax cheats and 90% free people, than 100% tax compliance and no freedom. We are headed down the track for the No Freedom side of the spectrum in our continuing War against Offshore Tax evasion, which in the end, will have as much success as our War on Drugs, but the cost to the world economy immense. I guess we will have to wait for the book which explains the consequences, as America doesn't seem to want to talk and debate what FATCA means for the world and the blow back of our offshore jihad coming to U.S. shores when and if Obama gets his reciprocity dreams for USFIs.

  4. The willful tax cheats who have been caught are vastly outnumbered by the nonwillful who had legitimate reasons for establishing and maintaining foreign accounts, tried to set things right (even though their banks were not being targeted) and are being subject to the same penalty as the willful.

  5. There is hesitation in voting for what is essentially a "black box" no one knows the details. There is also opposition to the proposed fine of 40% of undeclared assets.

  6. I agree with the FDP that only the federal council should be held responsible if it chooses to throw Switzerland under the bus against the democratic interests of the people.


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