taxThe lower house of the Swiss Parliament rejected a bill allowing Swiss banks to provide information on their foreign clients on request of U.S. tax authorities.
The reason for the appearance of the bill was frequent accusations of American authorities that the Swiss banks, helped U.S. citizens to evade taxes.
United States insisted for the document to be adopted in July 2013; however the current session of the Swiss Parliament ends this week. Thus vanished the opportunity to apply this law. 123 members of the National Council voted against the adoption of the law, yet 63 deputies supported the bill.
The bill would allow Swiss banks to evade strict privacy laws that exist in the country, and to disclose information about the accounts of their customers. Also included in the bill is a clause requiring the banks to pay approximately $ 10 billion to U.S. authorities in compensation for the damage caused by the loss of taxes.
Swiss politicians are not willing to amend their legislation on demand from Washington, reports the BBC correspondent Imogen Foulkes in Bern.
The Swiss Senate approved the bill last week rather reluctantly; after it was revealed that the U.S. could bring charges against Swiss banks while taking measures to isolate them from the dollar market, in the event of failure to support the new law.
As analysts point out, long standing traditions of bank deposit secrecy may lead to a political crisis in Switzerland, on which the European Union also has strong pressure, linked to tax matters.
In January, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the Swiss bank Wegelin & Co to pay the U.S. government a fine of $ 58 million after admission of guilt of not preventing more than 100 U.S. citizens to hide over $ 1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service of the United States.
In 2009, the largest Swiss bank, UBS paid U.S. authorities $ 780 million and provided information on over 4,000 accounts of its American clients in order to avoid criminal prosecution.