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Switzerland Rejects Proposed Probes Of Foreign Asset Management Clients After 2011

Eliane Chavagnon

14 August 2013

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), Switzerland’s financial watchdog, will not conduct an investigation into the country’s foreign asset management banking clients after 2011, according to local media reports. The country’s Committee for the National Economy wants to scrap - as voted by 13 members against 11 - the proposal brought about by Switzerland’s Council of States.

The proposal relates to the so-called “LEX USA” legislation - the Federal Act on Measures to Facilitate the Resolution of the Tax Dispute between Swiss Banks and the US (draft bill) – which aims to end dispute as relates to the role of Swiss banks in assisting US clients evade US tax obligations.

But it is not FINMA’s duty to carry out work of “historical facts,” the Tribute de Geneve said yesterday. “These would be of such magnitude that they absorb much of the resources of the FINMA,” it said, citing the commission.

In May, the Swiss government said it hoped to be nearing an agreement with US authorities over Swiss banks that allegedly help US citizens evade taxes. This would draw a line under the ongoing debate, which has seen a number of firms settle criminal and civil charges in the US

Switzerland’s Julius Baer Group reportedly received a request for client data at the end of May from the country’s tax authority, as part of an investigation by the US Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS sought information on accounts of Americans which were “owned through a domiciliary company” and held at any time between the beginning of 2002 and the end of last year, Bloomberg reported, having obtained a letter written by the bank.