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Liechtenstein says didn't press for Swiss inclusion on EU tax havens list

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Liechtenstein says didn't press for Swiss inclusion on EU tax havens list

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ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's inclusion on an EU watch list of tax havens was not at the behest of Liechtenstein, the tiny principality's prime minister said.

Both are on the grey list of 47 countries whose tax systems do not comply with EU standards but have committed to change. The NZZ am Sonntag paper said at the weekend Switzerland was included only after Liechtenstein complained it was on Brussels's draft list while Switzerland was not.

Switzerland had expected not to be included, and summoned officials from neighbouring Liechtenstein for an explanation after the list was published this month.

Liechtenstein leader Adrian Hasler denied any involvement by the principality.

"It was neither our suggestion nor our intention that Switzerland get put on the grey list," he told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper in an interview published on Monday.

"Our intervention aimed to have no grey list published or, if so, that Liechtenstein was judged as conforming (with EU rules) and did not appear on it," he said, noting that the principality had every right to defend its national interests.

Both countries have oversized financial industries and in the past have drawn scrutiny as places to stash offshore wealth.

Switzerland is about to start automatically exchanging data on foreign holders of Swiss bank accounts. It has also sought to overhaul its corporate tax system to avoid being branded a low-tax pariah, but it had to go back to the drawing board when voters rejected the plan this year.

Liechtenstein faces demands from the EU to change the way it taxes dividends and treats allowances for corporate equity.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by John Stonestreet)

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