July 17th, 2013
This week Edward Snowden, the whistleblower who leaked information about the National Security Agency’s data collection program, may be allowed to leave his temporary station at the Moscow International Airport, where he has been staying since he fled Hong Kong in June. Snowden’s leak has brought the concept of whistleblowing into sharp focus in our headlines lately, including the controversies over the relative benefits and costs of these individuals and programs that support them. As in the case of Snowden, the concept of whistleblowing can be controversial, and it is always painful for the entity or government who is...
September 17th, 2012
Switzerland's legendary banking secrecy is feeling the pressure. A series of tax treaties will make Swiss deposits more vulnerable to scrutiny from law enforcement. The treaties, specifically the German-Swiss one currently being negotiated, are far from perfect, but from the perspective of someone with a deposit in UBS or Credit Suisse, their cover is blown. You may think that this is something that will directly lead to historic prosecutions for epic-scale tax evasion, but that is unlikely. Instead, as Reuters reports, a significant portion of the $2 trillion deposited in Swiss banks are simply going to be withdrawn:
May 30th, 2012
Yesterday Switzerland’s parliament approved a much-anticipated tax information exchange agreement with Germany. The country has made similar agreements with Britain and Austria and is already in talks with Italy to make a similar deal.
Under the agreement, Swiss banks will make anonymous advance payments to German tax authorities for undeclared money. Germany stands to make big gains: lawmakers already plan to levy a retroactive tax of 21 to 41 percent on their citizens with undeclared accounts. With holdings of an estimated 222 billion euros ($291.8 billion) in Swiss accounts, about 60 percent of which are undeclared, German citizens can expect...
April 20th, 2012
Switzerland has just signed a ‘Rubik’ deal with Austria which protects banks secrecy in return for an anonymous tax being returned to Austria. This is similar to the ruinous Rubik deals made with Britain and Germany. This deal, which must be ratified by both countries’ parliaments, makes public a covert Swiss-Austrian alliance to block EU cooperation against tax dodgers and prevent automatic exchange of tax information between European governments.