GENEVA – Switzerland has accepted a United States demand to settle a dispute over the alleged complicity of Swiss banks in tax evasion by Americans, Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf announced Wednesday.
“This is both a good and a practical solution,” Widmer-Schlumpf told reporters after a cabinet meeting approved the draft accord.
She indicated that the Swiss government had been presented with a take it or leave it offer by Washington.
“It was a unilateral offer, one that we couldn’t negotiate,” she said.
She declined to give details of the sum that the banks will have to pay US revenue authorities in order to win legal closure, though Swiss media have reported that the overall figure could hit 10 billion Swiss francs ($10.3 billion, 8.0 billion euros).
“If a bank has done a lot of business involving undeclared American funds, it will be a big problem for it,” she underlined.
She rejected reports that the Swiss taxpayer would have to come up with at least part of the funds.
“Switzerland will pay nothing,” she insisted.