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Swiss hint of U-turn reopens rift over bank secrecy

Dec 27 2012 Tom Miles, Reuters

Switzerland's aim of preserving banking secrecy has been cast in doubt after the finance minister suggested all options are open, reopening the debate over a pillar of the country's economy. Switzerland became a tax pariah after data leaks established what many had long suspected - that many billions of dollars had been stashed in Swiss banks to escape taxation elsewhere. The Swiss government has pledged its commitment to European tax deals allowing EU citizens to pay tax on secret Swiss accounts without revealing their identity, even after German politicians sank that country's deal this month. But more recent comments from Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf raised the ire of politicians in Switzerland, even as they were welcomed by some neighbours. "Of course we will enter a dialogue with the EU Commission on possible information and what we are prepared to discuss and what we would want for it in return," she told a December 20 news conference. The remark

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