Italian tax police demand details on 10,000 Swiss bank accounts

Italy’s tax authorities are pressing their Swiss counterparts for details relating to some $8bn held in 10,000 bank accounts by Italian citizens.

Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration is yet to comment on the request, but it comes after an investigation last year that led to a settlement deal between the Italy and Credit Suisse AG reported to amount to $128bn. That case involved insurance policies with more than 16bn in offshore assets from 13,000 clients

This latest request was made by the Guardia di Finanza following an investigation by the prosecutor in Milan.

The statement by the prosecutor said that it had identified some 3,297 bank accounts held by Italians who are believed to have withheld $201m in tax, penalties and interest from Italy’s tax authorities.

Tax amnesty scheme

This came to light as a result of a tax amnesty scheme that offered tax evaders immunity from prosecution in exchange for full disclosure. The authorities believe that many more suspect account holders failed to comply, however, leading to this formal request for disclosure.

It may, however, be premature to link these accounts to Credit Suisse, as many media outlets are doing. When contacted by International Investment for comment, the bank told us: “On December 14, 2016, the competent Italian judge approved the agreement entered into by Credit Suisse AG and the Italian authorities in October, 2016.

“The court approval marked the end of the investigation by Italian authorities into Credit Suisse AG’s Italian cross-border business for the period from 2008 to 2015. Credit Suisse considers the investigation by the Italian authorities into Credit Suisse’s cross-border business as closed,” it said.

Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration declined to comment, pointing to a confidentiality clause that applies to mutual requests for assistance on tax matters.

Eugene Costello
Eugene Costello has been a journalist for some 20 years, and has written for a wide variety of UK and international newspapers and magazines.

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