Swiss subterfuges continuing to fool Italian politicians?

   0   0 Blog


This zombie just won’t die. From BusinessWeek:

“Solving the dispute over undeclared Italian funds with Swiss banks will be on the agenda today as Switzerland’s Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf and Italy’s Fabrizio Saccomanni meet in Bern.”

For some time Italy and Switzerland have been talking about signing one of those corrupt “Rubik” deals, where criminal tax evaders get immunity and ongoing secrecy, in exchange for paying withholding taxes on past and future income.

Given how trustworthy the Swiss banking industry is, it’s hardly a surprise that these agreements are useless. In 2011 we told Britain’s tax authorities that they would get a tiny fraction of what they’d forecast from those deals – and we were absolutely spot on.

Let’s now have a look at the numbers being examined in this story.

“While no official numbers exist, Italians may have hidden some 185 billion francs ($206 billion) in Swiss accounts, according to a 2009 report from Helvea SA, a Geneva-based brokerage. That report estimated undeclared U.K. assets of 60 billion francs and 18 billion francs of Austrian funds.”

So let’s apply the Rubik principles, and the general tax rates and terms that have been applied to date by the two countries that have signed the deals.


  • Capital taxes for regularisation of past tax evasion: 25% average – CHF 15 billion
  • Annual tax at least 1 or 2 billion

The end result? The figures to date are less than five percent of that. The other 95 percent escaped not so much by ‘moving the money out of Switzerland,’ but by using weaselly structures such as discretionary trusts. A tax adviser told TJN: “I haven’t heard one complaint from any trustee on how Rubik has or has not affected their business.”


  • Regularisation of past assets 25 percent average, or 4 billion
  • Annual tax: at least 500 million

Total figures are less than 20% of that, escaped mainly via foundations.  Austria, which is one of the tax havens in Europe that has been fighting hardest to preserve financial secrecy for wealthy individuals, declares (or course) that it is very satisfied with the results.

And so the bandwagon rolls on.

But there’s also this:

“In addition to the Italian talks, Widmer-Schlumpf also is seeking an agreement with Greece and will be meeting that country’s finance minister on Feb. 4 in Athens.”

We have, in fact done detailed analyses of the mooted Swiss-Italy and Swiss-Greece Rubik deals. Click here to see the reports.

Related Posts

New estimates reveal the extent of tax avoidance by multinationals

Price Waterhouse CoopersNew figures published today by the Tax Justice Network provide a country-level breakdown of the estimated tax losses to profit shifting by multinational companies. Applying a methodology developed by researchers at the International Monetary Fund to an improved dataset, the results indicate global losses of around $500 billion a year. The figures appear in a […]


Banking Secrecy in China, its related territories and Taiwan

Hong Kong from Sky 100Foreword. The Tax Justice Network is a non partisan network of experts working towards transparency, so we do not take any position about countries’ territorial and political claims. However, we do expect countries with a de jure (legal) or de facto (in practice) influence over other territories, to take responsibility for their power. We point […]


Is tax avoidance at the heart of Ireland’s economic miracle?

AIB International Finance Centre Dublin - By Estoy Aquí (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia CommonsComing out of the economic crisis Ireland was one of the best performing economies, with GDP growth rates of 8.5% in 2014 and an extraordinary 26.3% in 2015. But how much of this economic activity was real, and how much a fiction created by Ireland’s tax haven status? A new paper by Heike Joebges of the University […]


New Report: HMRC’s “Building our Future” programme

bigben-mcbigbenfaceYesterday the Tax Justice Network was in the UK Parliament to launch a report it co-produced with the Public and Commercial Services Union. The report, entitled “HMRC, Building an Uncertain Future” is a study of HMRC’s (the UK tax authority) reform plans which it is calling “Building our Future”. The report published yesterday analysed the […]


Financial secrecy in football: time for action

bigben-mcbigbenfaceEveryone has known for years that football is rotten to the core and financial secrecy is at the heart of the problem. Why then is no one doing anything about it? This post from the Offshore Game project originally features in the Independent. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top