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Bankers’ state of mind between lines: Switzerland v. Luxembourg

Le secret bancaire helvétique existera tant que les Suisses le soutiendront. Ce qui est différent, c’est qu’il ne sera plus possible de se réfugier derrière le secret bancaire pour les activités réalisées avec la clientèle à l’étranger. On ne pourra plus faciliter l’évasion fiscale en s’appuyant sur le secret bancaire. (free translation : The Swiss bank secrecy will exist as long as the Swiss will support it. What is different, is that it will not be possible anymore to take refuge behind banking secrecy for the activities carried out with foreign clients. One will not be able to facilitate tax evasion anymore using banking secrecy) (Oswald Grübel, CEO, UBS today in le Temps)

He is said to have sent an e-mail to the staff to call for the strict respect of laws and regulations to enhance the good reputation of the bank. "Aucun écart ne sera toléré" (free translation : “No variation will be tolerated”), he wrote.

At the same time in Luxembourg:

« L’échange d’information sur demande fera qu’un contribuable étranger, soupconné de fraude fiscale grâce à des faits ou documents probants, pourra faire l’objet d’une enquête par son fisc national » (free translation: “the exchange of information upon request results in that a foreign taxpayer, suspected of tax fraud based on documentary evidence, can be investigated by his national tax department)
(Jean Meyer, Chairman ABBL, in the Lëtzebuerger Wort)

In Switzerland there is a commitment that states: “One will not be able to facilitate tax evasion any more” whereas in Luxembourg it will depend on evidence provided by the foreign tax administration.

Above all, in Switzerland they use the term “tax evasion” whereas in Luxembourg they use “tax fraud”.

This is confirmed by the recent ABBL press release that states against the study made for the “Cercle de cooperation”, : “Without making any noticeable distinction, the document in question assimilates very diverse issues such as tax fraud, tax competition, Money laundering, the problematic of North-South relations and intra-European discussions on the taxation of savings”

Why “tax evasion” is not quoted by the ABBL?

Tax evasion will remain in Luxembourg as many actors consider it is practically part of tax competition.

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