I highly recommend reading the interview for it offers a rare look into the view of the Court.
However, the US perception is that Swiss banking secrecy is an economic decision taken by Switzerland to foster its strong banking activity. That’s not sufficient justification for the harm done to us through massive tax evasion.
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There have been far worse financial crimes to have come before me or other judges, such as WorldCom and Madoff. These were committed by people who set out to commit fraud on a mammoth scale.
No one views the cases of the Swiss banks in that magnitude, but no one views them as trivial either. There were large sums of money involved and no government can operate unless people pay their taxes.JAT Comment: With due respect to Judge Rakoff, I think the systemic problem that evidenced itself in Switzerland's economic choice to actively violate the tax laws of not only the U.S. but other countries (Germany, France and others) does rise at least equal to WorldCom and Madoff. Indeed, in those cases you had just a few people whose greed caused the problelm. By contrast, the Swiss banking system is, in my view, massively corrupt. They have enabled crooks, swindlers, potentates stealing from their people and other unsavory characters (not to mention tax evaders) for years. And, lest we forget, they tried to steal the deposits of Holocaust victims. See Wikipedia entry here. The Swiss felt themselves entitled to the economic rewards of their questionable activities, and that attitude infected a wide swath of the Swiss population. I am not meaning to "indict" all the Swiss. Far from it, but the Swiss banking empire was built on this type of systemic skullduggery and thus had a corrupt influence on the country. The Worldcoms and Madoffs don't do that, although to be fair much of the financial activity that brought the recession of 2008 was based on equally questionable and systemic activity in the U.S.