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Switzerland, Luxembourg or Austria : tax havens to be fighted according to German Finance Minister

German Finance Minister Peer Steinbruck warned in interview that is published by Sunday's edition of Bild newspaper that Germany might "complicate the business movements" against Liechtenstein if it didn't cooperate in the fight against tax fraud. He also launched a challenge to other European tax havens practising banking secrecy : "It's not just Liechtenstein, we're also talking about Switzerland, Luxembourg or Austria," he added.

Read original interview in German

A country cannot base its groth on banking secrecy, tax evasion and frauds in general.

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A tax haven that needs to clean up its act

Angel Gurría, who is is secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, published an article in the Financial Times dated 20 february 2008.

He stated that "Jurisdictions characterised by strict bank secrecy and a policy or practice of non-co-operation with law enforcement in other countries prosper by attracting brass plate banks, anonymous financial companies and asset protection trusts. But they do so to the detriment of the integrity of the world financial system and such behaviour is no longer acceptable. Money laundering and the misuse of corporate vehicles for tax evasion and other ways of exploiting financial markets for personal gain have expanded to the point where they threaten the political and economic interests of sovereign states. It is time for the governments of countries where such practices are prevalent to accept their responsibilities and crack down on them – or face the consequences."

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Small states present challenge over secrecy

The growing tension between Liechtenstein and Germany over tax evasion has highlighted the difficulty large countries have in keeping wealthy people from parking money in tax havens provided by smaller states and territories.

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