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25 May, 2015 16:20

Switzerland publishes names of foreign tax evaders – reports

Switzerland publishes names of foreign tax evaders – reports

Switzerland has reportedly published the names of foreigners wanted for tax frauds after requests from Russia, France, Germany, India and other countries. This may mark the end of Swiss bank privacy tradition, dating back to the 1930s.

After the government of Switzerland received numerous formal requests from foreign tax authorities, it decided to list the names, birthdates and nationalities of alleged tax evaders in its federal newspaper, Deutsche Welle said, citing Swiss media Sonntagszeitung.

The data will be publicly available on the Internet, which will allow the people on the list to protest the publication in court.

Banks have little interest in seeking customers who no longer keep their accounts in Switzerland, said Alexandre Dumas, a Swiss federal tax authority official.

READ MORE: HSBC exposed in tax evasion data leak

This year has seen Switzerland trying to tackle its reputation of the world's biggest haven for offshore accounts.

In March, Swiss authorities and the EU reached an agreement to stand against tax frauds. The settlement is aiming at transparency, vital to ensure that each EU country can collect the tax revenues it is due, said Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs.

In February, Swiss prosecutors launched a money-laundering probe against British multinational HSBC bank’s office in Geneva. The investigation was based on a series of leaked documents, the so-called Swiss Leaks, which provided information until 2007 and told about more than 100,000 clients with accounts worth $100 billion

Swiss banking secrecy originates from 1934, when a Federal Act on Banks and Savings Banks was introduced. Article 47 of the Act made it a criminal offence to disclose the identity of clients. The 1934 Swiss act is still in force with breach of professional confidentiality in banking is still punishable.