US attempts to strongarm Swiss Banking giants Credit Suisse into giving up the names of American account beneficiaries appears to be stagnating.
Senator John McCain was quoted yesterday expressing frustration at the lack of success by the US who have, in 5 years of trying, thus far only managed to elicit from Credit Suisse the names of some 238 undeclared Swiss accounts held for or by US Beneficiaries.
The Senator reportedly said that the US Justice Department had decided to tackle the issue by filing treaty requests, with little success. About time!
It should be noted as a matter of International Law that the necessary mechanism in order to compel any country to give up the names of non-resident company owners or account holders is to file an application pursuant to a mutually agreed and signed Tax Information Exchange Agreement (which it is noted the US does not hold with the Swiss). America’s use of bully boy tactics to try and force banks and others into giving up ownership information in the absence of such a treaty smacks of disrespect (if not outright contempt) for the rule of law.
If US legislators are so concerned about Americans keeping money offshore in privacy havens one wonders why they aren’t spending time investigating and rectifying the root cause of such motivations that is:
(a) excess government intrusion into and overregulation of private investment (& business) practices
(b) a legal system which all but encourages frivolous law suits; &
(c) consumer concerns about the stability of the American banking/monetary systems etc.
The age old rhetoric of painting anyone who holds an Offshore Company or Offshore Account as a tax evader is starting to wear a bit thin. In my experience (14 years specializing in International Corporate Structuring) the vast majority of Americans looking to set up non-American companies or accounts are motivated to do so by one of the above 3 reasons, not by the desire to avoid taxes.
Full marks to Credit Suisse for standing up to the bully boys.
But that more states/businesses were to show such courage….