Tuesday, April 24, 2012

UBS head calls tax flap ‘Economic War'.

Switzerland’s tax disputes with the United States and some European nations are “an economic war’’ putting 20,000 jobs at risk, the CEO of Swiss banking giant UBS AG has been quoted as saying. 

Switzerland has recently tried to shed its image as a tax haven, signing deals with the United States, Germany and Britain to provide greater assistance to foreign tax authorities seeking information on their citizens’ accounts in the Alpine nation.

But the tax agreements have drawn fire from Switzerland’s nationalist People’s Party, which won more than a quarter of the vote in last year’s general election, with some lawmakers saying they will try to block the treaties through referendums.

Sergio Ermotti, who was appointed CEO of Switzerland’s largest bank in November in the wake of a trading scandal, says Switzerland now is “stuck in the middle of economic warfare’’ and its opponents’ goal is to weaken UBS and the next biggest bank, Credit Suisse, according to Zurich Sunday newspaper SonntagsZeitung.

The banks’ rivals seek a share of their combined foreign assets of 2.2 trillion Swiss francs ($2.42 trillion), forcing UBS to cut costs and imperiling 20,000 jobs, Ermotti also was quoted in the Sunday paper as saying.

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