RTS Radio Interview dated 8 August 2012: http://www.rts.ch/audio/la-1ere/programmes/forum/4170924-qui-defend-encore-les-banques-suisses-08-08-2012.html
Interviewed were Antoine Spilmann, Member of the Committee of Swiss Respect (http://www.swissrespect.ch/index.php?id=21) as well as Charles Adams (Corporate Lawyer).
The header for the interview on the RTS website contained the following (quick human translation by me from the French in italics below):
Qui défend encore les banques suisses?
Who still defends Swiss banks?
A l’occasion de son bilan intermédiaire à la présidence de la Confédération, Eveline Widmer Schlumpf a été confrontée à de nombreuses questions concernant l’autorisation accordée à plusieurs banques de transmettre aux autorités américaines des documents où figurent des noms de collaborateurs.
At the same time as her mid-term report as President of the Swiss Confederation, Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf has been confronted with numerous questions concerning the permission given to several banks to transmit documents containing the names of their employees to US authorities.
If you can understand French, I would highly recommend listening to the interview HERE. One quick paraphrase into English from the interview: “…less than 2 percent of undeclared US holdings are in Switzerland; how would the US like the disclosure to Brazil of the accounts of South Americans held in Delaware??”
The site of Swiss Respect is definitely worth a visit. There is some information in English, and I find the English text on the page (http://www.swissrespect.ch/index.php?id=21) quite refreshing, for example:
Our authorities meekly bow to foreign pressure instead of employing the tools they have: sovereignty and law. What is worse, they repeatedly and systematically violate the law, putting the citizens of our country and the economy as a whole at risk. It would appear that neither reciprocity nor equal treatment is either requested or achieved. This trend must be halted as rapidly as possible.
Ill-considered decisions dictated by fear have led our authorities to adopt restrictive provisions which frequently go beyond what our “economic partners” have called for (the famous “Swiss finish”). We sign agreements and approve texts which our competitors do not implement themselves and would never accept in their own countries. This is seriously undermining our economic and legal framework, and will soon impact on the real economy and the tax revenues from which the entire population benefits.
The Swiss Federal Council has, without any legal basis, supported providing the USA with the names of thousands of clients and employees of Swiss banks and access to other information (telephone calls, e-mails, etc.)
Switzerland is giving in without a fight. These abuses of power and illegal decisions on the part of the highest federal authorities are extremely difficult to swallow. It would be suicide for Switzerland to go it alone on fiscal self-declaration or a code of conduct, for there are as yet no international standards. Switzerland’s reputation for legal protection, privacy and the protection of private property has been seriously damaged.
Finally there appears to be a group in Switzerland who wants to put an end to the madness.
Are there other country-specific organizations in other countries trying to accomplish the same goals?
Neither Switzerland nor any other democratic country should have such a fear of the US that it allows its own sovereignty to be violated.
Here is a note on the website of a Paris lawyer about Swiss Respect : http://www.etudes-fiscales-internationales.com/archive/2012/06/29/l-esprit-de-guillaume-tell-est-il-de-retour.html “The Spirit of William Tell is Back!”
Jeff also found SwissRespect.ch on Facebook:
“Création : 19 avril 2012
À : Genève.
Après l’adhésion d’un nombre suffisant de partenaires, le groupe lancera un premier appel au travers de la Presse pour créer une association et étendre le mouvement. Nous tenons à rester apolitiques, même si nous regrettons que cette situation découle d’une attitude laxiste et timorée, de maladresses et d’un manque de vision politique de nos représentants pour clairement défendre les intérêts vitaux…”
Here is an interview in English at WRS the other day, likely they said something similar, it was Spillman again.
@nofatcat Thanks for that link. Although I fully agree with what Swiss Respect is trying to do, I think that everyone needs to be aware that Swiss banks have historically been good not just in Wealth Management, but also in Retail Banking. I submitted a response to the link [pending moderation]:
Is it possible to open a Swiss bank account as a non-resident non-“US person” (post-renunciation with CLN obviously) if you are not a millionaire, say minimum deposit CHF 50000, or is that such small change that they would laugh at that?
**Note from JDT: It should be possible, but one would have to try on a case by case basis. Some banks in larger Swiss cities will ask if you live in their town (probably because plenty of folks try to open accounts just for the hell of it– i.e. just to brag that they have “Swiss Bank Account”). But if you tell them that you come frequently to the region and would like an account in Swiss Francs, they might accept you even if you are not a resident. I know of no Swiss law that would forbid such, even for much less than 50k
I support SwissRespect 100%, it is something long overdue here in CH. Just hope it is not too little too late.
Just wondering if anyone at IBS has reached out formally to these guys to try to get some synergies going?
I am all for giving them some CHF, but think they would benefit from linking up with some Canadians and perhaps others in the EU at a more policy level.
Seems they plan on lauchnign a referendum/petition here, but that will take some time.
@Don–yes, but it is getting harder and harder. US person, forget it. EU country in the process of negotiating a tax deal (i.e. Germany), more and more strings attached. All others, welcome.
@nofatcat I sent a message via the Swiss Respect website inviting them to visit IBS and indicating that I would make IBS aware (through this present thread as it turns out, in fact) of the existence of Swiss Respect.
As to formal synergy, I wonder if ACA has contacted them?
I have not fully analyzed these, but if you can read French, please have a look:
Several days ago, I wrote SwissRespect via their website and received the following response. My message to them appears at the bottom. The person who responded gave permission to post their response, but wishes to remain anonymous and hence I have redacted any reference to them.