Monday, January 9, 2017

Finews Article on Swiss Bank Shenanigans (Including the Recently Publicized U.S. Tax Shenanigans) (1/9/17)

I picked up this offering:  Dormant Accounts: How a Theft Changed Swiss Banking ( 1/9/17), here.  The article is not very flattering of Swiss banks' attempts over the years to steal money from their customers, their relatives, and in the case of its tax shenanigans, through customer fees that were payments for raiding their respect home country fiscs.  Finews is a swiss media outlet.  There was a time when Swiss media outlets would not have offered such articles.  Before getting into some of the contents of the article I first present something on this particular news  outlet.

According to the "About" page on its web site:
Where Finance Meets is Switzerland’s leading news site for all professionals in the financial sector. delivers real-time news about the financial industry: breaking news, feature stories, industry developments, opinions plus the latest on people and trends. was founded by an independent team of journalists and writers with extensive experience covering global financial services from a Swiss perspective.
Of course, these are promo statements.  I don't know whether is Switzerland's leading news site for professionals in the financial sector.  On a quick Google search, I did not immediately spot a source that I felt reliable as to the credibility of finews.  I suppose that this could be so-called "fake news."  Nevertheless, I decided to post this article because it does provide, in summary fashion, an accurate review of some of the Swiss bank shenanigans with which I am familiar -- the Holocaust gambit and the raid on U.S. and other countries' fiscs by helping customers hide assets and income.  So, I turn to the article and, since I presume readers of this blog already know about the Holocaust gambit and the the raid on U.S. and other countries' fiscs by helping customers hide assets and income, I only cut and paste an excerpt about one I had not previously known -- one that preceded the Holocaust.
It is twenty years now that a night guard stole documents destined for the shredder at the predecessor of UBS in Zurich. The theft indirectly caused one of the biggest ever crisis for Swiss banking. And is exemplary for the woes of a once proud industry. 
Christoph Meili was doing his shift at Union Bank of Switzerland in the night to January 9, 1997, when he spotted documents ready for destruction. He (falsely) assumed they were proof for banking relations with victims of the Holocaust and removed the documents.  
The employee of Wache AG missed the fact that the documents dated back to the years of 1897 through 1927 and thus couldn’t possibly be proof for the dormant accounts. He gave the files to a Jewish organization, which in turn handed them over to the police. 
The theft of the documents prompted an escalation of the simmering conflict over the so-called dormant accounts at Swiss banks. It also proved to be the catalyzer for one of the crisis Swiss banking has ever seen, with a now infamous class-action lawsuit engineered by a group of New York-based lawyers. UBS and Credit Suisse settled the conflict at the end of the century with the payment of $1.25 billion. 
So, this is a good read, albeit quite summary.  I cannot speak to the accuracy of it, except as it relates to the Holocaust and the the raid on U.S. and other countries' fiscs by helping customers hide assets and income, which is basically right.

As an aside, long ago, I asked more than once somewhat tongue in cheek:  How do you tell a Swiss Banker from a Somali Pirate?  My set up answer was that the Swiss Banker was the one wearing a suit.  Subsequent events have even knocked down that answer, as the investigations into the Swiss banks and bankers' U.S. tax shenanigans brought to light Swiss bankers traveling in camouflage (e.g., Hawaiian shirts when coming into the U.S. to make the customs authorities think their story of vacationing in the U.S. credible, when in fact they were set on doing their part in the tax conspiracy).  I suppose they might even dress like Somali Pirates if necessary to get the business of Somali "Pirate King" (not like the Pirate King, here, in Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance).

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