As its name indicates, Deutsche Bank is not a Swiss bank. But it does have a Swiss banking unit, for the same reason every other bank has a subsidiary in a country home to fewer people than New York City, which is the reason why said country of eight million people living on top of mountains has exactly one notable industry: banking. Historically speaking, the kind of banking that means you might not have to pay taxes.
Of course, this sort of banking has run into some troubles, recently, not least of all from Deutsche Bank’s home country. And without Angela Merkel’s willingness to throw down á la François Hollande with Barack Obama, and frankly without much risk to itself, the Frankfurters aren’t putting up a fight. Read more »
Swiss parliament rejected a bill designed to resolve a dispute over undeclared bank accounts held by U.S. citizens, potentially setting the stage for American prosecution of the country’s banks. Members of parliament’s lower house voted 123 to 63 against the bill, which would have allowed Swiss banks to cooperate with the U.S. and to settle a long-running dispute over wealthy American tax evaders. The government has said it has no plan B, in the event of the bill failing to pass. [Bloomberg]
Time was, you could count on Swiss banks to assist their clients in the business of not paying taxes, having practically written the book on how to go about keeping one’s assets a secret from prying eyes (Chapter 1: Discarded toothpaste containers make a great place to stash diamonds). Now? Not only are they no longer providing the service, they’re suddenly too good to associate with people whose hands aren’t clean. Read more »