Offshore Tax Evaders Deserve No Sympathy

July 15th, 2009

By James B. Stewart
Wall Street Journal

Do you know anyone with a Swiss bank account? I don’t, which is probably no surprise since the whole point is secrecy. But evidently there are plenty of Americans who do—at least 52,000 at UBS alone—whose identities the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice are trying to learn.

In light of this highly publicized investigation into tax evasion, I’ve been wondering just why anyone needs or wants a Swiss bank account. For African dictators, international arms traffickers and terrorists, the answer is pretty obvious. And there are certainly citizens of countries whose own banking systems are so precarious, and the risks of persecution for any number of reasons so great, that a Swiss bank account may provide welcome security.

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