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Three Countries Oppose Lifting Bank Secrecy

July 4, 1985

PARIS (AP) _ Switzerland, Austria and Luxembourg rejected a call Wednesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, to relax bank secrecy in order to combat tax avoidance and evasion.

It was the first major public rift in the 25-year history of the Paris- based organization, whose 24 members from the world’s leading industrialized nations normally reach compromises on economic and monetary policy matters.

All three countries maintain strict secrecy provisions.

Swiss Ambassador to OECD Jean Zwahlen told a news conference that an OECD report on the subject issued Wednesday drew no clear distinction between tax evasion and tax fraud. He said tax evasion and capital flight were not just caused by bank secrecy but by fiscal pressure, a loss of confidence in a country’s economic policies, and high interest rates.

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