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Subject:  Re: Swiss banking secrecy caving in Date:  10/4/2008  7:17 AM
Author:  DrBob2 Number:  257520 of 536611

The move would represent a significant shift in Switzerland’s banking secrecy laws, whose tradition dates to the Middle Ages.

Old tradition I guess, but the secrecy laws themselves go back to the 1930s.

In 1934, the Swiss Federal Parliament explicitly introduced the notion of bank secrecy for the first time in a section of the law and created criminal sanctions. Why was this law created? The first and most common explanation is the one taken up by the Swiss Bankers Association, which considers the event to be a political act by the Federal Parliament to demonstrate its independence and its neutrality in the face of the threatening power of Nazi Germany.

In the wake of the 1931 financial crisis, the Weimar Republic introduced strict foreign exchange controls. Many cases of economic espionage led by the German tax and customs authorities were exposed in Switzerland, while the Swiss laws were not sufficient to fight effectively against such practices. In reality, while the German agents risked deportation, at the very most, the German clients who fell victim to violation of bank secrecy were harassed by the Nazi government and forced to empty their Swiss accounts to the profit of the Third Reich.

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