Big tax haven centres, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg, are the latest countries to agree to concessions on bank secrecy.
Their agreements come after talks with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which sets rules on bank data sharing. A number of countries have also agreed, as the financial crisis forces a crack down on tax evaders. France and Germany have called on the OECD to compile a definitive black list of states who don’t share bank information with foreign tax collectors. The French President, Nicholas Sarkozy said: “Renouncing banking secrecy does not mean renouncing secrets of private life, but saying where money comes from and where it goes, doesn’t seem excessive to me.” A number of states, which have historically benefitted from laws helping the wealthy evade billions in tax, are falling in line. Monaco however has declined to comment on its plans. It will face hard questions at the summit of the G20 developed and emerging nations, to be held in London in April. Not so Liechtenstein, which says it will comply with international standards for tax and data sharing. Andorra too says it is going to relax its banking secrecy laws by November.