Italy’s ambassador to Switzerland has been summoned to explain a series of police raids on Italian branches of Swiss banks.
Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey is accusing the Italian authorities of acting in a “discriminatory” fashion as no other banks were subject to the snap inspections.
Italy’s tax authority claims Italians hold an estimated 125 billion euros in Switzerland.
Italian Revenue Agency’s Rossella Orlandi said: “This is mainly the first part of an operation which will be followed up with financial agencies, other banks and so on. In the next weeks, not immediately.”
Police and tax inspectors made checks at 76 branches of Swiss banks as part of Italy’s clampdown on tax evasion.
The Swiss have also criticised Italian border police for carrying out spot checks on business people crossing into Switzerland
Italy is hoping to claw back billions of illegally banked euros. An amnesty is in place for offenders who want to come clean with the fiscal authorities.