Why the TJN and Ritchie were wrong about Swiss banks

They shouted that there were billions there, just for the taking. And then there wasn’t, sa there were very few tax evading accounts held by Brits in hte Swiss banks. As I said at the time there wouldn’t be. Because:

One of the most startling revelations from the HSBC files – which highlighted tax avoidance and evasion aided by the bank’s Swiss operation – was that while the bank’s customers from Brazil, France or Italy were often hiding their money illegally in the bank’s Swiss subsidiary, many UK resident non-doms were sheltering their assets in Switzerland with the full backing of British law.

Their argument now is that they said this all along of course. Yeah, right….

13 thoughts on “Why the TJN and Ritchie were wrong about Swiss banks”

  1. Why does everyone go on and on about Switzerland being a tax haven? Switzerland is not not even the world’s biggest tax haven.

    As far as I know, the single biggest tax haven in the world is the USA. I would have thought the tax justice warriors would be more interested in talking about that tax haven rather than Switzerland.

    Or am I missing something?

  2. To expand on Salamander’s comment, the way British lefties talk about Switzerland is as if the place is a 100 square mile Caribbean Island with a population of 1,500 but with 8,000 registered banks. They might be surprised to find that Switzerland is a fully-functioning, medium-sized country with a diverse economy ranging from pump design to tourism and the global centre for various industries, and there are thousands of legitimate reasons for European citizens of many stripes to be involved there commercially and financially.

    Recently I’ve found a lot of my colleagues asking me how to open a Swiss bank account. Not to avoid tax, but due to the fact that we are paid in CHF and most people took the option to convert it straight to EUR. But with the collapse of the EUR against the CHF, many are now looking to keep their salary in CHF and are finding that French banks are happy to open CHF accounts but the service is appalling (e.g. no online access) and the charges are extortionate.

    If the Guardian was moaning about the Cayman Islands, they might have a point. But Switzerland? If I was a Swiss I’d think them a bunch of ignorant, bigoted arseholes.

  3. “But Switzerland? If I was a Swiss I’d think them a bunch of ignorant, bigoted arseholes.”

    This. Is. True.

  4. I think it goes pretty deep, the whole ‘Swiss bankers as some sort of bogeyman’ meme. Personally (and this is just a bit of a wild theory to be honest) I think its a hangover from the anti-Semitic view of the Jewish Banker as usurer, sucking his interest out of the honest working man. Slowly the Jew title got lost, but the image of the evil banker sat in his lair somewhere working to defraud the common man (Wilson’s Gnomes of Zurich comment falls right in here) remains. Switzerland just got the worst of it as the centre for banking back in the day, and the image has stuck ever since, mainly because the Left love a bogeyman they can blame for Socialism not working, and they ramp up such attitudes as much as possible.

  5. Switzerland used to be the centre of banking because it had:

    1. Stable democratic government;
    2. A freely-convertible currency.

    Since there are now rather more of the former, and very few remaining non-convertible currencies since most countries have dropped all forms of capital controls, it’s got competition.

  6. Yes and in the case of tax havens, the USA is the biggest there is. Since the 70s the USA has enacted laws that allow it to be a tax haven. The USA does not allow Swiss style bank secrecy, but it has its own forms of secrecy like special kinds of trusts and shell companies.

    And yet, most people are surprised when I mention it and find it hard to believe that the USA is a tax haven. The usual response that I get is that the USA is one of the good guys standing up against tax havens and for tax justice.

    And that is when I feel the need for a pint.

  7. And people seem to think CH is a tax haven for people living and working here. Lower tax, yes, but high out-of-pocket.

    Also, I crunched the numbers a while back – a single person on average earnings in several cantons pays more tax than someone in the same situation in the UK, and has health insurance + out of pocket health expenses on top of that.

  8. And yet, most people are surprised when I mention it and find it hard to believe that the USA is a tax haven.

    I read somewhere that Delaware is pretty much nothing but a tax haven.

  9. @TimN:

    I was about to post the very same comment. Certainly a lot of US insurers with international arms are registered there.

  10. Delaware deliberately decided to make state policies (not just taxation) business friendly in the hope of attracting significant inward (mostly from the other states) investment.

    Certainly, it has a lot of brass-plate head offices, even if the actual Head Office functions are conducted elsewhere.

  11. At the risk of accusations of pendantry, surely that’s how they were wrong. Why they were worng might be poor research, poor understanding of what facts they did have, a disinclinaiton to let accuracy get in the way of truthiness if it aided their cause or a combination of some or all these reasons and more.

  12. “But Switzerland? If I was a Swiss I’d think them a bunch of ignorant, bigoted arseholes.”

    I think so even if I am not Swiss.

  13. The Swiss are lovely people, generally. (I go there regularly and have often thought about moving there.)

    Social justice warriors are bitter, nasty, jealous, dishonest people with a terrible need to control other people see R Murphy, Ironbore, Arnald etc

    The SJWs compare themselves to the likes of the Swiss and can’t help but despise themselves. This self hatred manifests itself in anger and spite.

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