Freedom Project~ Swiss Bankers Drop Holiday Plans on Fear of Arrest
By Martin de Sa'Pinto and Emma Farge ~ Reuters
ZURICH/GENEVA | Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:43am EDT
(Reuters) - Browsing glossy brochures in search of an exotic and relaxing summer
holiday is the norm for Swiss private bankers at this time of year.
But many will be going no further than the Alps, fretting that
Switzerland's tax disputes with the United States and other nations
could leave them open to arrest and extradition if they leave the
country and are suspected of aiding tax cheats.
Even secretaries working on U.S. accounts at the banks are reckoned to be at
risk, while one banker rang an advice hotline because he was worried
about nipping over the French border to buy groceries.
All this comes as Switzerland negotiates to get U.S. probes against 11
banks dropped in return for payment of fines and the transfer of names
of thousands of U.S. clients. It also wants a deal to shield the rest of
its 300 or so banks from prosecution.
Several Swiss bank employees have been arrested or indicted in the U.S. since the long-running tax dispute broke.
Banks including HSBC and Credit Suisse have given about 10,000 employee names
to U.S. authorities in an attempt to avoid the fate of private bank
Wegelin, which broke up in January under threat of indictment, bank
employees and lawyers said.
A middle office worker, who attended a Geneva advice seminar organized by
The Association of Swiss Bank Employees (SBPV), and whose bank sent her
name to U.S. authorities, cancelled plans to attend a school reunion in
the States in July.
"I recently went to London but I had my radar on the whole time. I am very uncomfortable when I travel," she said.
Former UBS banker Renzo Gadola, who received five months' probation after
co-operating with U.S. authorities, and Credit Suisse's Christos Bagios,
yet to be charged since his January 2011 arrest, are among Swiss bank
staff to have been arrested in the States.
Read the rest of the article here: Reuters
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