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Swiss banks want US tax row deal

Swiss banks want US tax row deal
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The head of the Swiss Bankers Association has said his country must solve a dispute with the United States over wealthy citizens using secret Swiss accounts to dodge taxes.

But Patrick Odier said that must come under existing laws and should continue to protect bank secrecy.

He was responding to reports the US could charge Credit Suisse and nine other Swiss banks unless they hand over detailed information on US tax evaders using Swiss accounts.

“There cannot be an ultimatum. Friendly states must have a will to negotiate,” Odier told a news conference.

“I am sure that the United States understands that we are not a banana republic and that we want to defend our legal order just as America also wants to do and that is why I am hopeful that a solution is possible.”

Odier said Switzerland must avoid reverting to emergency law as it did to settle a US investigation against UBS when it bent strict bank secrecy laws to reveal details of some 4,450 UBS clients to avoid criminal charges.

“Bank client secrecy protects wealth and does not hide it. This protection remains important,” he said.