There are daily reports in the press on bank secrets being on their last legs; it is especially Swiss bank secrets that are often mentioned in this regard. This is of course nothing new as Swiss bank secrets have been criticised ever since they were introduced.
When you carefully read the news about bank secrets, several reasons that are not so well-known become clear about the campaigns against it in each country. The campaign, know in the profession as the “anti-offshore crusade”, was launched in 2008. Although it took years before it turned out that in reality the campaign was not just against tax evaders, it was easy to make the general public understand and accept it. According to experts, the real reasons included the fact that due to the crisis, the confidence of investors in banking and institutional systems had been shaken in several countries, which was made even worse by high taxes, resulting in the outflow of capital from these countries to other, more secure and cost-effective safe havens. The same thing occurred in nearly every high-tax country. One of the targets of the fight against international terrorism was also bank secrets in order to find out who provide support for terrorists and in what ways and through what channels they do so.
This was when legal proceedings were initiated against the Swiss banks which then lost their cases one after the other, resulting in the loss of important markets as well as in the need to pay millions of dollars in fines for some of their obviously wrong market manoeuvres. In the meantime, the European Union also opened a new front against bank secrets and created the system for the automatic exchange of banking data”, the main goal of which was to ensure a sufficient inflow of tax revenue into the treasury which often stood empty.
Bank secrets are the last pillar of a financial private life. Once it disappears, people will lose the last opportunity to have privacy outside the bedroom. In other words, anyone can look into our wallet at any time. This is clearly shown by the fact that Switzerland makes the greatest efforts to fight state “data phishing”. This means that the state (any state) may go through people’s bank accounts without any reason or suspicion using modern information technology tools. This is clearly unnecessary and harmful, raising very serious problems as it enables state authorities to obtain a lot of strictly private and business secrets without consent.
Nevertheless, a number of countries strictly safeguard information regarding clients’ bank accounts. The “Financial Secrecy Index” has been in use for years http://www.financialsecrecyindex.com/, ranking financial centres on the basis of bank secrets. Let’s take a look at the list! In 2013, the international bank secret ranking looked as follows:
3. Hong Kong
4. Cayman Islands
We could go on but, looking at the list compiled by independent analysts and fact-finding journalists, it becomes immediately evident that some of the countries that play a key role in the fight against bank secrets have a high ranking on this list themselves. Another thing that suggests the same is that the fight against bank secrets is nothing other than a fight between various international financial centres, in which high ranking is extremely important. The winner can win a lot, for example, the right to safeguard the assets of the wealthiest people in the world.
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