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(Oct 17, 2013) Switzerland and the United States signed an Executive Agreement on August 29, 2013, that was designed to end a dispute between the two countries on issues relating to the conduct of Swiss banks in allegedly having assisted U.S. taxpayers in the commission of tax evasion. (Press Release, Swiss Federal Department of Finance, Switzerland and United States Sign Joint Statement to End Tax Dispute Between Swiss Banks and United States (Aug. 30, 2013).) The Agreement provides the rules under which Swiss banks may cooperate with U.S. authorities by providing information on the alleged misconduct without thereby violating Swiss privacy laws. (
The Executive Agreement of August 29, 2013, overcomes this obstacle by giving the Swiss banks the opportunity to request a non-prosecution agreement from the U.S. authorities in return for paying a fine and providing information on bank employees and other individuals who organized questionable customer transactions, together with statistical information on customer behavior. Customer data may not be disclosed under this scheme, and the Swiss banks must observe certain rules of Swiss data protection. In order to comply with U.S. requests for information, each bank must request permission from the Swiss authorities. Absent such permission, if they released information, the Swiss banks might be criminally liable under article 271 of the Swiss Criminal Code. This article makes the cooperation with foreign authorities a punishable offense, if the cooperating activities normally should be carried out by the Swiss authorities and not private parties. (Swiss Criminal Code [Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch] (Dec. 21, 1937, as amended), Systematische Sammlung des Bundesrechts 311.0 [in English].)
|Author:||Edith Palmer More by this author|
|Topic:||International affairs More on this topic|
|Taxation More on this topic|
|Jurisdiction:||Switzerland More about this jurisdiction|
|United States More about this jurisdiction|
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Last updated: 10/17/2013