Swiss Banks in Italy Raided

October 30, 2009 Offshore BankingOffshore TaxationTaxation in ItalyTaxation in Switzerland  No comments

The Italian branches of Swiss banks were raided by the Guardia di Finanza on October 30th.

According to Italian authorities, the operation was aimed at ensuring that all relevant taxation data was being provided by Swiss banks to the Italian tax authorities. In total, 76 branches were visited across northern Italy by the Italian Financial Police, Guardia di Finanza, and tax inspectors from the Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s Inland Revenue Services equivalent.

While no banks opted to comment on the raids, the Swiss government summoned an Italian ambassador on the same day to justify the action. Swiss government officials told Giuseppe Deodato, the Italian ambassador, “Switzerland has cooperated to a great extent with the international community, with European Union countries as well as with Italy in particular in tax matters”. Deodato explained later in the day on Swiss radio that the move was not aimed at being an unfriendly move towards Switzerland.

According to Italian government estimates, Italian nationals could have as much as €600 billion held in offshore funds, much of this in Swiss banks. It is hoped by officials that Italy’s current tax amnesty will attract approximately €100 billion back into Italy. Franco Frattini, Italian Foreign Minister, said “I don’t think the path of measure and counter-measure is the correct one,” and “Counter-measures certainly do not help”, warning Switzerland against any possible retaliation towards Italy about the amnesty or bank raids.

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