World News

Swiss Move to End Secrecy on US Accounts

Switzerland has taken a step toward helping the United States catch wealthy investors who evade taxation by putting their money in secret Swiss bank accounts.

The Swiss government said Wednesday it would allow - but not force - banks in the Alpine nation to circumvent the country's secrecy laws and disclose the names of American account holders to U.S. authorities investigating tax evasion cases. By cooperating, the banks could avoid criminal prosecution for allegedly helping the tax evaders, but still have to pay fines to the United States.

The Swiss parliament must consider the agreement, which is expected in the next few months.

Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf called the agreement "a good and a practical solution" to lengthy negotiations with the United States over the country's long-standing secrecy laws on the bank accounts. But some Swiss lawmakers said Bern's negotiators caved in to U.S. demands to complete the agreement and complained about the loss of secrecy that would occur if it takes effect.

Featured Story

VIDEO: Mourners gather in Moscow to pay final respects to one of the Kremlin's most vocal critics. VOA's Amanda Scott reports from Washington.

Video Russia Opposition Leader Laid to Rest

Moscow gives no explanation for barring two European officials from attending memorial for Boris Nemtsov; EU says action is 'clear breach of basic principles' More