- This Means War: US To Target Putin’s Personal $40 Billion Stash (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2014):
While the White House has continually threatened further sanctions against Russia for non-de-escalation (even as it un-de-escalates itself), the specifics of the additional sanctions have been sparse. German CEO warnings over blowback from economic sanctions… the “nonsense” of replacing Russian gas with US gas… the Russian warnings of “interdependence” and “boomerangs”… all reduce the West’s arsenal of financial sanctions. But, as The Times of London reports, perhaps the US has found a crucial pain point for Putin – a sanctions regime that would target Putin’s personal wealth, which includes a reported $40 billion stashed in Swiss bank accounts.
that moment when visiting Swiss president tells Ukraine President he put up the Danish rather than Swiss flag pic.twitter.com/YinyQFnynU
— petromatrix (@petromatrix) April 14, 2014
- Oh, that awkward moment: Ukrainian PM greets Swiss president with Danish flag (RT, April 14, 2014):
An official visit of Switzerland’s president to Ukraine has kicked off with a diplomatic blunder as the country’s coup-imposed authorities greeted him with Danish flag instead of the Swiss.
It was Swiss president, Didier Burkhalter, who pointed the mistake out to prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk, during their meeting on Monday.
However, Burkhalter was kind enough to treat the incident as a joke, the Swiss media reports.
- Italians beg Swiss: please buy Sardinia (The Local, Feb 26, 2014):
Could Sardinia become Switzerland’s 27th canton? In a bid to ease Italy’s economic woes, a Facebook campaign has been set up to sell the southern Italian island of Sardinia to the Alpine country.
The “Maritime Canton” (“Canton Marittimo”) Facebook group has gained more than 3,500 members attracted to the debate of selling Italy’s second-largest island to the wealthy Swiss.
“We are investigating the willpower of Sardinians of allowing Italy to sell Sardinia to Switzerland, to repay part of the public debt and restart the national economy,” the group description reads.
- EU freezes research and student exchange funds (The Local, Feb 16, 2014):
In a tit-for-tat retaliation, the European Union has frozen research grants for Swiss universities worth hundreds of millions of euros and suspended the involvement of Switzerland in the Erasmus student exchange programme.
A spokesman for the EU announced the freeze on Sunday, a day after after Bern announced it had refused to sign a deal opening labour market access to Croatia, the ATS news agency reported.
- If Invading Switzerland, Please Do So Outside Of “Office Hours” (ZeroHedge, Feb 17, 2014):
When overnight we were following the Ethiopian Airline hijacking story, one thing that was missing from the Twitter narrative was the lack of any reports of scrambled Swiss fighter jets – something that has become a staple when an airplane deviates even modestly from its course above the continental United States. As it turns out it wasn’t merely a journalistic oversight: there were, in fact, no fighter jets scrambled. Why? Because the hijacking which took place around 3 am, and culminated with the 767 landing in Geneva just after 6 am, took place outside of regular air force hours!
The AFP’s reporter writing up this story must have been trying hard to avoid bursting brain capillaries due to excess laughter. Here is the gist: Continue reading »
- Farage Blasts “Bullying Brussels”, Cheers Swiss Immigration Curbs Bill (ZeroHedge, Feb 10, 2014):
Switzerland’s surprise decision in favor of curbing EU immigration, was greeted by UKIP’s Nigel Farage as “wonderful news for national sovereignty and freedom lovers throughout Europe.” With 50.3% of Swiss voters backing the “Stop Mass Immigration” bill proposed by right-wing populists, AFP reports that Farage (who has been outspoken over immigration and sovereignty problems in Europe) added “a wise and strong Switzerland has stood up to the bullying and threats of the unelected bureaucrats of Brussels.” As we noted previously, with the EU elections rapidly approaching non-centrist status quo parties are quickly gaining attention as ‘the protest vote’ gains traction.
- Europe Stunned, Angry As Switzerland Votes To Curb Immigration (ZeroHedge, Feb 9, 2014):
This wasn’t supposed to happen. At a time when the European Union, reeling from the ongoing near collapse of the Eurozone, has been preaching its key benefits – the removal of borders and the free transit of labor – moments ago Switzerland, with a tiny majority of 50.4%, voted in favor of new immigration curbs which requires the government to set an upper limit for foreigners, risking a backlash from the (utterly toothless) European Union.
In some ways this was a vote of the urban vs rural population: Voters in the cities of Zurich and Basel and cantons in western Switzerland opposed the measures, while those in rural German- speaking cantons and the Italian-speaking region of Ticino backed it, reports Bloomberg.
The problem for Europe is that the backlash against immigration was supposed to be a PIIG thing, having led to the surge of such nationalist parties as Golden Dawn in Greece, but they don’t matter as the will of the “peripheral” people is completely ignored in Europe. However, now that one of Europe’s most successful nations has opined against the free importing of labor, despite the prevalent perception that it has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of immigration, Switzerland has just left Europe’s pro-migration propaganda in shambles.
To wit, from Bloomberg:
- Swiss Propose Treating Bitcoin Like Any Other Foreign Currency (ZeroHedge, Dec 16, 2013):
While the ECB (and the Fed) continues to warn (danger of theft), threaten (asset-ize and tax it!), or de-bunk the idea of virtual currencies (despite two of the world’s largest banks apparently seeing value in the idea), the Swiss Parliament is proposing a different angle. A postulate signed by 45 (of 200) members of parliament asks for bitcoin to be treated as any other foreign currency – and examine the potential bitcoin-related opportunities for the Swiss financial sector.
The Swiss Parliament is considering a postulate that asks for bitcoin to be treated as any other foreign currency. The goal of the postulate, introduced by representative Thomas Weibel, is to eliminate ambiguities and increase legal certainty related to bitcoin Continue reading »
– Swiss to vote on 2,500 franc basic income for every adult (Reuters, Oct. 4, 2013):
Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.
A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.
Hordes of bankrupt French invade Switzerland to get their hands on their “stolen” money — such is the imaginary scenario cooked up by the Swiss military in simulations revealed over the weekend.
The current number of recruits in the Swiss army stands at around 155, 000 — the biggest army in Europe relative to population size.
- Swiss war game envisages invasion by bankrupt French (Telegraph, Sep 30, 2013):
Carried out in August, the apparently outlandish army exercise was based on the premise of an attack by a financially stricken France split into warring regions, according to Matin Dimanche, the Lausanne-based daily.
One of these, “Saônia,” corresponding to the existing Jura region, was preparing attacks on Switzerland to retrieve money it had apparently swiped from France.
Operation “Duplex-Barbara” went as far as imagining a three-pronged invasion from points near Neufchâtel, Lausanne and Geneva, according to a map published in the Swiss newspaper.
Gold backwardation is signaling to me that we are approaching the endgame.
Prepare for collapse.
- Gold is Flooding Out of London to Switzerland at an Alarming Rate (Liberty Blitzkrieg, Aug 19, 2013):
This is one of those stories about the gold market that almost seems too wild to be true since the numbers are so extraordinary. According to a Reuters article from earlier today, Australian bank Macquarie has reported that gold is flooding out of London and into Switzerland at a mind-boggling rate. Specifically, 240 tons were exported in May alone and 797 tons during the first half of 2013. That means gold is being exported at a annualized run rate of 17x the 92 tons exported for all of 2012. That’s insane.
Moreover, it seems a lot of that gold is being sent to Switzerland so that the 400oz bars can be melted down into different sizes that are more amenable to Asian sensibilities. So, as many of us suspected all along, what has happened is lobotomized Westerners have sent much of their gold to Asia just as the financial system prepares to melt down again. The fact that the market has absorbed all of this and yet we still have a backwardated market is extremely bullish.
Aug 19 (Reuters) – Britain’s gold exports to Switzerland surged in the first half of this year, Australian bank Macquarie said on Monday, suggesting bullion being sold out of exchange-traded funds may be heading for Swiss refineries before being sold on in Asia.
- UNPRECEDENTED Shortages Of Ammo, Physical Gold And Physical Silver (Economic Collapse, April 25, 2013):
All over the United States we are witnessing unprecedented shortages of ammunition, physical gold and physical silver. Recent events have helped fuel a “buying frenzy” that threatens to spiral out of control. Gun shops all over the nation are reporting that they have never seen it this bad, and in many cases any ammo that they are able to get is being sold even before it hits the shelves. The ammo shortage has already become so severe that police departments all over America are saying that they are being told that it is going to take six months to a year to get their orders. In fact, many police departments have begun to trade and barter with one another to get the ammo that they need. Meanwhile, the takedown of paper gold and paper silver has unleashed an avalanche of “panic buying” of physical gold and physical silver all over the planet. In the United States, some dealers are charging premiums of more than 25 percent over the spot price for gold and silver and they are getting it. People are paying these prices even though they are being told that delivery will not happen for a month or two in many cases. Some dealers are feverishly taking as many orders as they can, and they are just hoping that they will be able to get the physical gold and silver to eventually fill those orders. Personally, I have never seen anything like this. If things are this tight now, what is going to happen when the next major financial crisis strikes and people really begin to panic? Continue reading »
- Swiss To Vote On Gold Repatriation (ZeroHedge, March 21, 2013):
The Swiss National Bank (SNB), which supposedly guarantees price stability in Switzerland, currently holds about 1,040 tons of gold reserves after gradually selling off at least 1,550 tons and now members of the Swiss People’s Party, the far-right Swiss Democrats and the Lega dei Ticinesi movement, is confident a nationwide vote will be called (after they gathered 106,000 signatures) on stopping the sale of gold reserves held by the SNB. It also wants gold bars stored in the US to be returned. As Swiss Info reports, the People’s Party leader Luzi Stamm comments, “Gold reserves guarantee the stability of the Swiss franc. They ensure that that private savings, salaries, pension keep their value,” warning that gold must not be the object of speculation for the SNB or for politicians and demanding the SNB keep a minimum of 20 per cent of its assets in gold, twice the current level. In addition, they want to force the government to disclose where the gold reserves are stored, since “it is only in safe hands if it is kept in Switzerland.”
A rightwing group has submitted more than 106,000 signatures to the federal authorities, seeking a vote on stopping the sale of gold reserves held by the Swiss National Bank (SNB). It also wants gold bars stored in the US to be returned.
- Who Controls The Money? An Unelected, Unaccountable Central Bank Of The World Secretly Does (Economic Collapse, Feb 5, 2013):
An immensely powerful international organization that most people have never even heard of secretly controls the money supply of the entire globe. It is called the Bank for International Settlements, and it is the central bank of central banks. It is located in Basel, Switzerland, but it also has branches in Hong Kong and Mexico City. It is essentially an unelected, unaccountable central bank of the world that has complete immunity from taxation and from national laws. Even Wikipedia admits that “it is not accountable to any single national government.” The Bank for International Settlements was used to launder money for the Nazis during World War II, but these days the main purpose of the BIS is to guide and direct the centrally-planned global financial system. Today, 58 global central banks belong to the BIS, and it has far more power over how the U.S. economy (or any other economy for that matter) will perform over the course of the next year than any politician does. Every two months, the central bankers of the world gather in Basel for another “Global Economy Meeting”. During those meetings, decisions are made which affect every man, woman and child on the planet, and yet none of us have any say in what goes on. The Bank for International Settlements is an organization that was founded by the global elite and it operates for the benefit of the global elite, and it is intended to be one of the key cornerstones of the emerging one world economic system. It is imperative that we get people educated about what this organization is and where it plans to take the global economy.
Sadly, only a very small percentage of people actually know what the Bank for International Settlements is, and even fewer people are aware of the Global Economy Meetings that take place in Basel on a bi-monthly basis.
US singer Tina Turner arrives for the Emporio Armani fashion show in Milan, on February 26, 2011. Turner — who has been living in Switzerland since 1995 — will soon receive Swiss citizenship and will give up her US passport, according to Swiss media reports.
- Tina Turner ‘to become Swiss, give up US passport’ (France 24/AFP, Jan 25, 2013):
US pop legend Tina Turner, who has been living in Switzerland since 1995, will soon receive Swiss citizenship and will give up her US passport, Swiss media reported Friday.”I’m very happy in Switzerland and I feel at home here. … I cannot imagine a better place to live,” Turner told German language daily Blick.
- Swiss Capital Controls Escalate As Credit Suisse Sets Negative CHF Deposit Rates (ZeroHedge, Dec 3, 2012):
In a world that already makes little sense to most, Credit Suisse just pushed the envelope a little further. The bank has just announced that going forward it will be charging for firms to hold a CHF cash balance – i.e. the bank, given the already-negative Swiss government bond yields, has moved to its own NIRP for its clients. The need to do this suggests an overwhelming desire for short-term safety that flies in the face of the seeming level of complacency that exists in the European bond (and stock markets). As we have warned before, it seems that the currency wars that appear to have escalated have now started the ‘capital control’ wars as CS (and implicitly the SNB) adds this negative interest rate ‘charge’ to its already pegged currency in the vain hope of managing the unmanageable flow of safe-haven-seeking cash.
- CREDIT SUISSE INFORMS BANK CLIENTS OF NEGATIVE RATES ON CHF FROM DEC.10
- CREDIT SUISSE INFORMS CLIENTS IN SWIFT NOTICE, CONFIRMED BY BNK
In other words, Europe is so fixed, Swiss banks are furiously doing everything in their power to halt the dumping of EUR in exchange for CHF, and to push everyone, kicking and screaming, into the absolutely safety and well-being of the Euro, which according to Eurozone politicians is strong as diamond, which is vernacular for as close to collapse as the next Greek popular election.
There are some interesting implications behind a story that is out this weekend. I found the details (that have come out so far) of interest.
The IRS of France, the National Directorate Of Tax Investigations (DNEF), has covertly sent agents into Switzerland to pursue tax evasion cases against French citizens. The Agents entered Switzerland claiming they were tourists. The Agents were not sightseeing in the Alps. They were doing what spies always do. They were covertly gathering information on enemies of France. In this case, the “enemies” are French citizens.
To be clear. This is 100% illegal activity in Switzerland.
Banking secrecy is still the law of the land in Switzerland. There have been several cases in the past few years where a Swiss bank employee has stolen information on private accounts. The lists of “names” were later sold to tax authorities in the US and Germany. Switzerland has vigorously prosecuted the individuals involved. Several have gone to jail; others are pending extradition and trial.
And now French government agents are breaking the same Swiss laws. The following thoughts come to my mind about this affair:
- How desperate are the French to do this? A covert operation in a foreign country? That’s over the top. If the French tax spies are doing this, what are the other arms of government doing? Are they spying as well? Listening in on phone calls to find out if the waiters are claiming their tips? How are the French going to react? Some, do doubt, with glee. Others, justifiably, with fear.
Continue reading »
YouTube Added: 29.10.2012
The Greek government is now being accused of failing to go after tax dodgers. A journalist who published a list of the country’s political and business elite who have Swiss bank accounts now faces a trial after being arrested. For more on the story RT’s joined by George Katroungalos, attorney and professor of constitutional law.
- 21 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is About To Go To A Whole New Level (Economic Collapse, Oct 14, 2012):
The global debt crisis has reached a dangerous new phase. Unfortunately, most Americans are not taking notice of it yet because most of the action is taking place overseas, and because U.S. financial markets are riding high. But just because the global economic crisis is unfolding at the pace of a “slow-motion train wreck” right now does not mean that it isn’t incredibly dangerous. As I have written about previously, the economic collapse is not going to be a single event. Yes, there will be days when the Dow drops by more than 500 points. Yes, there will be days when the reporters on CNBC appear to be hyperventilating. But mostly there will be days of quiet despair as the global economic system slides even further toward oblivion. And right now things are clearly getting worse. Things in Greece are much worse than they were six months ago. Things in Spain are much worse than they were six months ago. The same thing could be said for Italy, France, Japan, Argentina and a whole bunch of other nations. The entire global economy is slowing down, and we are entering a time period that is going to be incredibly painful for everyone. At the moment, the U.S. is still experiencing a “sugar high” from unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, but when that “sugar high” wears off the hangover will be excruciating. Reckless borrowing, spending and money printing has bought us a brief period of “economic stability”, but our foolish financial decisions will also make our eventual collapse far worse than it might have been. So don’t think for a second that the U.S. will somehow escape the coming global economic crisis. The truth is that before this is all over we will be seen as one of the primary causes of the crisis.
The following are 21 signs that the global economic crisis is about to go to a whole new level…. Continue reading »
Tags: Angela Merkel, Argentina, Banking, Ben Bernanke, Dollar, Economy, EU, Euro, Europe, Fed, Federal Reserve, France, GDP, Germany, Global News, Government, Greece, IMF, JPMorgan, Politics, Quantitative Easing, Recession, Society, Spain, Switzerland, U.S., Unemployment, Wells Fargo
- Switzerland Prepares Army For Euro Zone Fallout (CNBC, Oct 15, 2012):
With anti-austerity protests across Europe resulting in civil unrest on the streets of Athens and Madrid, the European country famed for its neutrality is taking unusual precautions.
Swiss Defense Minister Ueli Maurer, left, visits a tank recruit school.Switzerland launched the military exercise “Stabilo Due” in September to respond to the current instability in Europe and to test the speed at which its army can be dispatched. The country is not a member of the union or among the 17 countries that share the euro.
Swiss newspaper Der Sonntag reported recently that the exercise centered around a risk map created in 2010, where army staff detailed the threat of internal unrest between warring factions as well as the possibility of refugees from Greece, Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal.
The Swiss defense ministry told CNBC that it does not rule out having to deploy troops in the coming years.
“It’s not excluded that the consequences of the financial crisis in Switzerland can lead to protests and violence,” a spokesperson told CNBC.com. “The army must be ready when the police in such cases requests for subsidiary help.”
Some 2,000 troops were part of the drill exercise in eight different towns across the country. Infantry soldiers were used as well as the Air Force and special forces personnel in an assignment that took years to organize.
Quoted in a Schweizer Soldat magazine, Defense Minister Ueli Maurer warned of an escalation of violence in Europe.
“I can’t exclude that in the coming years we may need the army,” he said.
- 28 Good Questions That The Mainstream Media Should Be Asking (Economic Collapse, Oct 9, 2012):
Why is there so little trust in the mainstream media these days? CNN ratings have been hovering close to record lows over the past few months. A recent Gallup survey found that 60 percent of all Americans “have little or no trust” in the mainstream media. That was a record high according to Gallup. So why is this happening? Sadly, the truth is that the mainstream media quit telling the truth a long time ago. The mainstream media has an agenda, and more Americans than ever are beginning to recognize this. Once upon a time, control of the news in the United States was at least somewhat decentralized. But now there are just six giant media corporations that control almost everything that we see, hear and watch. The version of “the news” that they give us is designed to serve the interests of those corporate giants and the other corporate giants that spend billions of dollars to advertise their products through those outlets. Watching the news on television can be an extremely frustrating experience these days. Yes, there are little bits and pieces of the truth in there, but you have to wade through an awful lot of “infotainment” to get to those bits and pieces. That is one of the reasons why the “alternative media” has absolutely exploded in recent years. The American people are hungry for the truth, and they are increasingly turning to alternative sources of news on the Internet in an attempt to find it. Continue reading »
Tags: Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, Bonds, Congress, Debt, Dollar, ECB, Economy, EU, Europe, Fed, Federal Reserve, Global News, IMF, Law, Mitt Romney, NATO, Obama administration, Politics, Society, Spain, Supreme Court, Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, U.S.
- Do The Swiss Know Something The Rest Of Us Don’t? (ZeroHedge, Oct 7, 2012):
Ueli Maurer, the Swiss defense minister, has been making coy statements about the European crisis getting ugly – as in really ugly, like needing armed troops to deal with it. This sounds more like Greece, where the rioting is regular and increasingly scary, than anything in Central Europe, but where the whole EU furball is headed does seem less than clear of late.
The Swiss are famous for preparing for everything and having an absolutely huge army, relative to their population, to deal with any eventuality. They maintain their special military system, based on training for nearly the whole male population but a very small active duty cadre (plus a few, tiny UN peacekeeping-type missions abroad, since the Swiss have an actually defensive defense force): the Swiss can call up over 200,000 trained troops, which is but one-third of what was on-call twenty years ago – like everyone, they have downsized as the threat has receded since the fall of the Soviet bloc – but that’s still pretty huge in Swiss terms. In America, that would mean a mobilization strength of nearly 8,000,000 for the U.S. military (it’s a hair under three million, in case you were wondering). Continue reading »
- Swiss Banks Stand to Lose Hundreds of Billions (The Epoch Times, updated Sep 21, 2012):
UBS predicts massive asset outflows as governments crack down on former tax haven
Hundreds of billions of dollars could be moved out of Swiss banks as clients attempt to flee a coordinated crackdown on tax evasion, UBS’s Jürg Zeltner told magazine Schweizer Bank on Sept. 17. The crackdown will likely cost Switzerland its tax-haven status.
The head of the UBS wealth management unit predicted that his bank will lose about 12 billion to 30 billion Swiss francs (US$12.8 billion to 31.9 billion) of the 783 billion francs in assets under management for wealthy clients. “As a consequence of the realignment of the financial center and the planned withholding tax, we assume that a total of hundreds of billions of francs will flow out of Switzerland,” he told Schweizer Bank.
Credit Suisse, the other big player in wealth management, estimates it will lose over $37 billion over the next few years as European clients withdraw their money. German business consultants ZEB estimate that out of the total 2.8 trillion francs ($3 trillion) that the roughly 300 Swiss banks have under management, 800 billion francs could be untaxed funds from European citizens. ZEB predicts that 200 billion of those funds could be withdrawn due to several tax treaties and investigative breakthroughs. Continue reading »
- Jailed UBS Employee Gets $104 Million From IRS For Exposing Swiss Bank Account Holders (ZeroHedge, Sep 11, 2012):
Just in case there wasn’t enough excitement and fury directed at Swiss bank account holders, which continue to dominate the presidential election “debate” above such mundane topics as the economy, or, say, reality, here comes the IRS, which as we noted yesterday collected $192 billion less than the government spent in the month of August alone, and have awarded Bradely Birkenfeld, a former UBS employee who in 2008 pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States and was sentenced in 2009 to 40 months in prison, but received preferential whistleblower status after a prior arrangement to expose numerous Americans with Swiss bank accounts, has just been awarded $104 million.
U.S. tax authorities have awarded $104 million to a whistleblower in a major tax fraud case against Swiss bank UBS AG that widened a government crackdown on Americans avoiding taxes in Switzerland, his lawyers said on Tuesday.
Bradley Birkenfeld, freed last month from prison, was not present at the news conference where his attorneys announced the reward made under an Internal Revenue Service whistleblower program that has come in for some criticism in Congress.
Birkenfeld had sought a large payout for his role in a tax-dodging case that resulted in early 2009 in UBS entering into a deferred prosecution agreement and paying $780 million in fines, penalties, interest and restitution.
- What Do Swiss Bonds Know That Nobody Else Does? (ZeroHedge, Aug 3, 2012):
On the surface all is well, stocks are soaring, the EURUSD is up solidly, and euphoria is back, or that is at least what is being telegraphed. So why is the single biggest unmanipulated flight to safety flag (defined by us) currently available – the Swiss 2 Year – screaming to run for cover? The bond is currently at an all time nominal low, as none of the peripheral euphoria has had any impact on Europe’s true remaining risk free asset, and instead it just hit a new all time record low yield moments ago. Just what does it know that nobody else does, or wishes to acknowledge? Or is today merely the latest iteration of the Copperfield market: keep the algos distracted with flashing red headlines and bright green S&P numbers, which the real money is quietly running away into the safety of Geneva bank vaults…
- Swiss Bank Crackdown Accelerates As Credit Suisse, UBS Clients Raided In Germany, France (ZeroHedge, July 11, 2012):
While virtually every European risk indicator is now being gamed to underreport the true nature of the capital flow panic on the continent, one remains steadfast: Swiss nominal yields, which as we pointed out a month ago, have become the only true indicator of liquidity stress. And as noted this morning, Swiss 2 Year bond just hit a record nominal -0.37% (which coupled with record low yields in German yields explains everything about where money is sprinting to in Europe, and just how much “confidence” in the system is left). And while the SNB continues to suffer massive losses on its EURCHF peg, the reality is that it continues to offer a free put to all those who wish to move away from EUR exposure and into the relative safety of the CHF (the risk of cantonal disintegration is still relatively low). Which is why the only recourse authorities have in dealing with the now record flight to Swiss safety is brute force. Sure enough, as Reuters reports, clients of the two largest Swiss banks: Credit Suisse and UBS was raided in two independent, but likely linked, operations in Germany and France, respectively, in a show of force that moves beyond mere tax-evasion and has a goal of scaring anyone who still thinks of keeping their money in the relative safety of Geneva and Zurich bank vaults.
German tax authorities have raided Credit Suisse clients and French officials searched the homes of UBS employees, deepening the crackdown on foreigners hiding money in Swiss offshore accounts to dodge taxes.
Switzerland’s strict banking secrecy rules, which have helped build a $2 trillion offshore financial sector, have infuriated cash-strapped governments as they try to crack down on tax evasion by wealthy citizens.
Roughly 5,000 German clients of Credit Suisse are being probed on suspicion of tax evasion and some had their homes searched, a bank source said on Wednesday, as European tax officials broaden their investigation to include clients as well as banks. Continue reading »
- Italy Police Seize $6 Trillion of Fake U.S. Treasury Bonds in Switzerland (Bloomberg, Feb. 17, 2012):
Italian anti-mafia prosecutors said they seized a record $6 trillion of allegedly fake U.S. Treasury bonds, an amount that’s almost half of the U.S.’s public debt.
The bonds were found hidden in makeshift compartments of three safety deposit boxes in Zurich, the prosecutors from the southern city of Potenza said in an e-mailed statement. The Italian authorities arrested eight people in connection with the probe, dubbed “Operation Vulcanica,” the prosecutors said.
The U.S. embassy in Rome has examined the securities dated 1934, which had a nominal value of $1 billion apiece, they said in the statement. “Thanks to Italian authorities for the seizure of fictitious bonds for $6 trillion,” the embassy said in a message on Twitter.