Swiss may block bank secrecy treaty


The Swiss don't like being told what to do, and even though some of their key products -- cheese, Cartier watches and chocolates -- could face trade sanctions, the Swiss may vote to block new tax treaties. A key case hanging in the balance is the U.S. tax evasion case involving the opening of 52,000 Swiss bank accounts on deposit at UBS (UBS).

To avoid being blacklisted by the G20
, Switzerland joined Luxembourg, Austria, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and Singapore in signing an Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development treaty to share tax information. These countries joined a "grey list" of countries that agreed to implement tax standards but have not yet done so. If these standards are implemented, the banks in these countries would have to change their banking secrecy laws. And people who use these tax havens to avoid tax in their own countries by stashing their money in secret accounts would no longer be able to do so.