Switzerland again..

We have said several times that being in Switzerland today is the same as being in the eye of a hurricane, impossible to know what will happen every day, but one thing is clear, there is a huge fight today to bring clear all What happens in the country. A good part with US aid.

We will not extend ourselves here, so we refer to the article published on the Swissinfo website ( Original Article ).

As one Swiss politician who fought to clean FIFA: “The US is doing what Switzerland failed to make calling for the arrest of several senior Football executives is very bad for Switzerland – a global center for international organizations and governance – not have done more persistently pursuing allegations of corruption that long circled around FIFA. We asked FIFA to clean up their actions years ago, while there was still time to do it. They did not follow this path and now it seems that US will do that for FIFA and Switzerland. It’s a pity that the whole world is looking to Switzerland.

This time were we doing the talking.

Switzerland and Brazil to exchange more information

It is known that the automatic exchange of tax information between the two countries will take place in 2018 (end of 2017 for Brazil and 2018 for Switzerland), but the conversations between the two for the signature of a bilateral treaty are well advanced and should be signed well before the OECD agreement be operational.

Philippe Nell (head of the Americas division of SECO, the State Secretary for Economic Affairs of Switzerland), passed the information that the Swiss government is in advanced negotiations for a bilateral agreement with Brazil. This commitment includes the exchange of information, as foreseen by the OECD agreement, but also to free trade.
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Swiss Banks freezing accounts and blocking withdrawals

For the past months we have being receiving information that Italian clients were having some problems transferring or withdrawing assets from Swiss banks. Since this information was getting almost zero repercussion outside Italy we decided to explain what is happening.

As you may already know about the global shift to tax compliance, usually you hear more US related news. This time Italians are under scrutiny from their government and Swiss deposits are the top priority. Anyone thinking that this won’t happen to many other countries think again. Belgium and France are on the same path.

To their defense, Swiss banks are adopting measures to safeguard their interests and operations (just to make sure that you all understood, THEIR interests not their client’s). Some of them are only allowing transfers to accounts in white listed countries that are already under OECD tax information standards, only under the clients personal name and after the client went to the bank in person, with his lawyer to sign documents saying that he is tax compliant in his home country reliving that bank of any misconduct. Of course the client has to convince the receiving bank that his funds are tax compliant as well. Cash withdrawals are also being blocked and recent court cases are backing the right of the banks to do so (don’t you read the bank account contract’s small letters??). Credit Suisse and BSI (recently acquired by BTG Pactual) are among those taking this measures.
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Brazil SwissLeaks CPI – HSBC

Brazil SwissLeaks CPI (Parliamentary Investigation Committee) may receive additional information from HSBC Brazil regarding clients that applied to open up accounts with HSBC in Switzerland.

After receiving information of all Brazilian account holders with the Swiss HSBC, Brazil HSBC CEO said that they have information on clients that were applying to open accounts with their Swiss branch since the Brazilian branch was the referral office for them. The executive affirmed that they don’t know which of those clients actually opened accounts in Switzerland but if CPI requests they would provide the information they have.

The executive also said that client accounts that are considered high risk or from clients that don’t provide enough information on the resources origin are being closed and that they are taking other steps to increase the bank’s security.

Vadian Bank AG reaches deal under U.S. tax program

Vadian Bank AG is the second Switzerland-based private bank to reach a deal with US authorities under a voluntary disclosure program for assisting Americans in evading taxes. We can expect that number to grow on the upcoming months.

The program, launched in 2013, allows Swiss banks to avoid prosecution by disclosing cross-border activities that helped U.S. account holders conceal assets and income. Banks already under criminal investigation are excluded from the program. The first bank to settle under the program was BSI.

Vadian Bank AG was one of the banks to receive many US accounts after 2008, when it became public that UBS AG was target of of a criminal investigation over facilitating tax evasion by the Justice Department. The small bank will pay a $4.25 million penalty under a non-prosecution agreement.
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Brazil Receita Federal forgives Swiss HSBC account holders.. Such nice guys.

The Brazilian Internal Revenue Service (Receita Federal) already have the leaked Swiss HSBC data in their hands and they have successfully identified 7.243 individual tax payers as account holders. Interesting enough they say they will forgive these people for any tax evasion. Can you believe that? That would be great news for a lot of people I’m sure if that wasn’t a lie. What they will do is only consider the period from 2011 to 2014 for that purpose, but because they can only charge tax payers for a period of 5 years back, not what you were expecting right?

There’s another catch, when you don’t declare offshore money there’s the possibility of another crime involved one called unreported remittance of currency and for that there’s no 5 years limitation period. Penalty can go from 2 to 6 years of jail time.
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Guilty Plea

Federal prosecutors in the United States have obtained another guilty plea in their continuing crackdown on Swiss banks and financial services that helped Americans cheat on their taxes.

The guilty plea by Swiss former asset manager Peter Amrein in a federal court in New York comes amid a criminal investigation that US authorities have said still includes 14 Swiss banks, notably the second-largest, Credit Suisse Group.

The institutions where he worked were not identified in the indictment, which accused him of conspiring with a Zurich-based Swiss lawyer, Edgar Paltzer, in setting up hidden accounts at Wegelin and at least four other Swiss banks that were not identified, some using names of made-up foundations in Liechtenstein. Wegelin, which was Switzerland’s oldest private bank, announced its closure after agreeing to pay $74 million (CHF71.8 million) and pleading guilty in 2013 to helping wealthy American clients avoid paying taxes.
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Amnesty to whom?

In a deal with U.S. prosecutors, Swiss private bank BSI SA agreed today to pay a $211 million penalty and hand over leads on more than 3,000 accounts with U.S. ties, as well as the actual names of an undisclosed, but presumably much smaller group of U.S. account owners.

The “non-prosecution agreement,” which allows BSI to avoid criminal charges in the U.S., is the first to be sealed under a controversial amnesty program the U.S. Department of Justice announced in August 2013 for all Swiss banks, except the 14 already under criminal investigation at that time.
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HSBC in Hot Water

We have absolutely no appetite to do business with clients who are evading their taxes or who fail to meet our financial crime compliance standards
Stuart Gulliver, CEO HSBC

Governments around the world are investigating HSBC for its actions in assisting numerous clients evade taxes, launder money, and facilitate numerous crimes. With the deferred prosecution from the U.S. Department of Justice in jeopardy it is likely that HSBC will lose its U.S. banking license.

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