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Switzerland Yields To US Tax Demands

Monday, February 6, 2012

Following mounting pressure from the US attorney’s office, Switzerland has finally handed over to US investigators comprehensive, encrypted, banking data pertaining to eleven Swiss banks, alleged to have aided wealthy Americans to evade US taxes amounting to billions of euros.

The US has threatened legal proceedings against the banks and their executives, issuing them with an ultimatum back in December to hand over client data and to pay billions in fines to avoid prosecution. Credit Suisse, Julius Bär and the Cantonal Bank of Zurich are among the banks targeted.

According to a spokesman from the Swiss finance ministry, the data does not, however, include concrete client information, underscoring that full access to the information, including names of client advisors, will only be decoded and provided on a case-by-case basis, once an agreement has been reached between the US and Swiss authorities.

Switzerland is currently in the process of negotiating a tax agreement with the US to resolve the longstanding issue of US clients alleged to have undeclared accounts held in the Confederation. Talks recently stalled, however, as the US, which is said to be seeking a settlement sum of around USD10bn, has also demanded additional data together with a binding commitment and binding regulations to ensure that in future the Swiss authorities assist in pursuing suspected tax evaders.

Following a recent meeting in Davos with her US counterpart Timothy Geitner, Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf indicated, however, that a tax deal with the US to end the dispute might be possible later this year.

Switzerland’s oldest private bank Wegelin, the first to fall victim to the tax evasion rift and ensuing legal dispute, recently announced its decision to sell its operations in Switzerland. Wegelin employees were charged at the beginning of January with conspiring to conceal over USD1.2bn in undeclared client assets.

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The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas

Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation

Barbados

Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Bermuda

Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cyprus

Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax

Gibraltar

Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision

Guernsey

Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment

Jersey

Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations

Madeira

Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Malta

Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004

Mauritius

Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment

Monaco

Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Nevis

Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Panama

Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama

Seychelles

Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance

Vanuatu

Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees




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