Liechtenstein to Open Tax Books; Pressure's on Swiss

International pressure bends EU nation, but Switzerland is the prize
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2009 8:46 AM CDT
Swiss bank UBS, seen in Zurich, Switzerland, is known as one of the largest holders of funds for the world's wealthy in a country with a rich history of tax secrecy.   (AP Photo/Keystone, Alessandro Della Bella, File)
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(Newser) – Liechtenstein, bowing to international pressure, said today it would adopt international standards on transparency in tax matters, turning the screws on other tax havens like Switzerland, the New York Times reports. Yesterday, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development added Switzerland, Luxembourg, and others to a list of tax havens already including Liechtenstein. One financial diplomat said Switzerland and Luxembourg are Europe’s, and the OECD’s, real targets.

“Switzerland is the big prize,” one academic wrote last year. “Unlike the other tax havens, it is a country rather than a dwarf-state and postage-stamp curiosity, and it is outside the EU,” and therefore not subject to EU scrutiny. Tax havens have come under increased pressure in the run-up to April’s Group of 20 meeting, and France and Germany have asked the OECD to prepare information on them for the talks.