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SWI swissinfo.ch – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, swissinfo.ch has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.

Articles by Swissinfo

‘Financial equalisation’ between Swiss cantons to increase in 2025

7 days ago

Low-tax and wealthy Zug is invariably a net contributor to the Swiss financial equalistion system. Keystone / Urs Flueeler
Redistribution payments between regions will rise by 4.8% to CHF6.2 billion ($6.91 billion) in 2025, the Federal Finance Administration (FFA) said on Tuesday.
According to provisional calculations, annual compensation payments to cantons with low resource potential – the main component of the equalisation scheme – will climb by CHF331 million (7.3%) next year to reach a total of CHF4.8 billion.
Some 60% of the total payments will be financed from federal coffers; richer cantons will provide the other 40%.
+ Read more: how rich cantons subsidise their ‘poorer’ cousins
Of the 26 cantons, Zug will contribute most, with a bill of over CHF431

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Ticino approves lower taxes for the wealthy

9 days ago

The idea is to make cities in Ticino, such as Lugano, more attractive for top managers Keystone – Ats / Ti-Press
High incomes in the Swiss canton of Ticino will in future benefit from tax relief. A corresponding amendment to the law was approved by voters on Sunday. Compensatory measures for planned pension cuts for cantonal employees were also approved.
With a voter turnout of 49.32%, 60,581 Ticino residents voted in favour of the new tax law and 45,908 against, according to the state chancellery.
In addition to a reduction in the maximum income tax rate, the new tax law also adjusts inheritance and gift tax as well as the taxation of capital withdrawals from pension schemes.
The new law aims to reduce the top tax rate in six stages by 0.5% per year until 2030 –

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SNB returns to quarterly profit thanks to Swiss franc weakness

April 25, 2024

SNB Vice President Martin Schlegel. Keystone / Michael Buholzer
The Swiss National Bank (SNB) returned to a quarterly profit because of the weakness of the Swiss franc, potentially helping officials to rebuild the central bank’s depleted capital base.
The Zurich-based institution notched up a gain of CHF58.8 billion ($64 billion) in the first quarter, according to a statement on Thursday. That’s the strongest start to the year on record.
The largest part of its profit – CHF52.4 billion – was generated from the SNB’s large assets held in foreign currencies. Its gold holdings saw a valuation gain of CHF8.9 billion. Swiss franc positions yielded a loss of CHF2.4 billion, mainly because it had to pay interest on deposits of commercial banks.
+ Read more: Swiss central

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Switzerland braced for wave of bank staff layoffs

April 15, 2024

Redundancies at Switzerland’s largest bank will test the capacity of the financial sector to absorb jobs.

Keystone

A year ago Credit Suisse staff were stunned by the sudden demise of their bank. Many are now fighting for their careers with 3,000 Swiss posts set to be axed by their new employer UBS, starting this year.

This content was published on

April 15, 2024 – 09:00

Matthew Allen

When not covering fintech, cryptocurrencies,

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UBS must build up more equity, says Swiss government

April 14, 2024

UBS already has to build up additional equity capital because it has become much larger as a result of the Credit Suisse takeover, Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter said.

KEYSTONE/© KEYSTONE / MARTIAL TREZZINI

In order to better protect taxpayers from the corporate failure of a systemically important bank in future, the Swiss government presented a catalogue of 22 measures for “too-big-to-fail” regulation on Wednesday. However, there is no single panacea, said Finance Minister Karin Keller-Sutter in an interview with the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper.

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April 14, 2024 –

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Investigation into collapse of Credit Suisse beset by delays

March 14, 2024

Executives tried to explain themselves at Credit Suisse’s last AGM. KEYSTONE/© KEYSTONE / MICHAEL BUHOLZER
In March 2023, Credit Suisse collapsed. An uncontrolled bankruptcy could only be prevented by big government aid and an emergency merger with competitor UBS. Switzerland is now waiting for a parliamentary inquiry report to reveal who was at fault as the bank disintegrated.
For some, Credit Suisse’s management and ex-chairman Axel Lehmann are solely to blame for the collapse. For others, Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), led by Marlene Amstad, failed in its oversight task. For others again, former Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer should have intervened earlier.
+ Who is to blame for the demise of Credit Suisse? The suspects.

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CEO pay: can Switzerland compete with the US?

March 7, 2024

Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan saw his pay nearly double over the last year. KEYSTONE/© KEYSTONE / GEORGIOS KEFALAS
Swiss CEOs are some of the best paid in Europe but compared to peers in the United States, their salaries look modest. Some in the Swiss pharmaceutical industry see this as a problem.

 

Jessica covers the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to big global companies and their impact in Switzerland and abroad. She’s always looking for a Swiss connection with her native San Francisco and will happily discuss why her hometown has produced some of the greatest innovations but can’t seem to solve its housing crisis.
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English Department

Pauline Turuban

My specialty is telling stories, and decoding what happens in

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SWISS reports highest ever profit 

March 7, 2024

SWISS’s turnover totalled CHF5.3 billion last year, the airline announced on Thursday
KEYSTONE/© KEYSTONE / URS FLUEELER
Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) saw record operating profit last year following a return to pre-pandemic revenue levels.

SWISS’ turnover totalled CHF5.3 billion ($6 billion) last year, the airline announced on Thursday, a significant increase on the previous year’s CHF4.4 billion, and a return to 2019 levels for the first time since the pandemic.

The airline also achieved record operating profit, which increased to CHF718.5 million from CHF456 million the previous year, well above the last record result of CHF636 million in 2018.
This was in part due to strong demand for air travel combined with a competitive cost structure, the

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Swiss exports to Russia suspected of evading sanctions

February 27, 2024

Swiss goods enter Russia via third countries. KEYSTON

Since the beginning of the Ukraine war, Swiss exports to countries close to Russia have increased significantly – which points to a possible evasion of sanctions.

Shortly after the Russian attack on Ukraine, Western countries imposed sanctions on Russia. On February 28, 2022, Switzerland also reacted and adopted the EU sanctions. Since then, exports to Russia have been banned, with some exceptions such as medical goods.
However, trade with countries close to Russia such as Armenia, Kazakhstan or Georgia is not sanctioned.
As an analysis by the University of St. Gallen shows, exports to Russia collapsed shortly after the start of the war, except for a few non-sanctioned goods. At the same time, exports of

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Switzerland marks start of China’s ‘high-level exchange’ with Europe

January 15, 2024

Chinese Premier Li Qiang is visiting Switzerland this week. The official state visit by China’s second highest ranking official signals a renewal in Sino-Swiss ties and the kick-off of his “high-level exchange” with Europe. Here’s what you need to know about official Swiss-Chinese relations.

Born in London, Simon is a multimedia journalist who has worked for www.swissinfo.ch since 2006. He speaks French, German and Spanish and focuses on science, technology and innovation issues.
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| English Department

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Why does China have an increased interest in Europe?
Li, who has been tasked with reviving China’s struggling economy, is visiting Switzerland followed by Ireland, “as Beijing seeks to

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Swiss banker pleads guilty to tax offences in the US

December 22, 2023

A Swiss banker has pleaded guilty to tax offences in the United States. Between 2008 and 2014, he allegedly helped wealthy US clients hide their assets from the US authorities in accounts at Zurich-based Ihag Privatbank.

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The former head of the Zurich-based Allied Finance Trust, a subsidiary of the Liechtenstein-based Allied Finance Group, and his “co-conspirators” transferred more than $60 million (CHF51.4 million) from US taxpayers to undeclared Ihag bank accounts, according to a statement issued by the US Department of Justice on Thursday.
The Swiss national was arrested in Italy in August 2023 and extradited to the United States. According to the press release, he now faces up to five years in prison as well as

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Swiss budget agreed with humanitarian spending cut

December 21, 2023

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Switzerland’s parliament has finalised the 2024 budget after agreeing to a CHF10 million cut on humanitarian funding.

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On Thursday, the House of Representatives and the Senate chambers cleared up the last budget disagreements. The last sticking point was whether to retain or cut Swiss funding for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).+ Budget: extraordinary spending meets the Swiss Debt BrakeThe House of Representatives wanted to cut CHF20 million of UNRWA funding, but accepted a Senate compromise to reduce the general budget for humanitarian projects by CHF10 million without specifying where the money should be saved. The Federal Council is free to

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Politicians want 75% of Swiss CO2 emissions to be cut at home

December 20, 2023

Switzerland must reduce at least three-quarters of its carbon emissions in the Alpine country, the House of Representatives agreed on Wednesday.

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The objective of a 75% reduction of carbon emissions already appears in the current CO2 law, with the remaining percentage to be reduced abroad. But the Swiss government had not formulated a figure in its proposal for the revised CO2 law for 2025-2030. “There will be the possibility of doing this in the ordinance,” explained Environment Minister Albert Rösti.
+ Switzerland disappoints in global green rankings
But parliamentarians on Wednesday set the target to at least 75%. “It’s ambitious but doable; we can create more value in Switzerland,” declared Stefan

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Swiss government data affected by cyber-attack on Basel firm

November 14, 2023

The software company Concevis has been the victim of a cyber attack. Once again, federal government data is involved. The cybercriminals are threatening to publish the data on the darknet.

 

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According to available information, the stolen data probably contains old operational data from the Federal Administration. In-depth analyses are still underway, writes the Federal Department of Finance in a statement on Tuesday.
After stealing the data, the cybercriminals encrypted all the company’s servers. After Concevis refused to be blackmailed, the cybercriminals threatened to publish the data on the darknet. The Basel-based company has filed a criminal complaint.
This is the second time this year that the Swiss

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Glencore buys Teck’s coal assets in billion dollar deal

November 14, 2023

Commodities giant Glencore is taking control of Canadian Teck’s steelmaking coal business.

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The Zug-based group will pay $6.93 billion (CHF6.2 billion) in cash to buy a 77% stake in the Elk Valley Resources (EVR) division.
EVR produced 21.5 million tonnes of steelmaking coal and posted pre-tax profits of C$6.0 billion in 2022, Glencore detailed in a press release on Tuesday.
The transaction is not expected to result in any headcount reductions in Canada, while EVR will step up its capital expenditure and research in this North American country.

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Zurich Airport hits pre-pandemic traffic level in October

November 14, 2023

For the first time, the same number of passengers flew through Zurich Airport in October as before the coronavirus pandemic. The number of passengers rose significantly compared to the same month last year.

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A total of 2.87 million passengers traveled through Zurich Airport in October. This is 19 percent more than in the same period last year. For the first time, traffic volumes have thus returned to pre-corona crisis levels.
The exact number of passengers is 99.9% of the October 2019 figure, as the airport announced on Monday evening. With 110,148 passengers on October 8, a new daily record was also set since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of passengers traveling within Europe even rose

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Swiss Post readies for holiday rush amid slight parcel dip

November 14, 2023

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and then Christmas shopping: many people in Switzerland will go on a shopping spree at the end of the year. However, Swiss Post is expecting a slightly lower flood of parcels this year than in 2022.

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The “parcel peak season” is just around the corner for Swiss Post employees. Last year, Swiss Post sent 22 million parcels across the country between Black Friday and Christmas. This year, however, a slightly lower volume of parcels is expected.
However, Swiss Post believes it is well equipped to deal with the flood of parcels, as a spokesperson told the news agency AWP. In the current year, new parcel centres have been opened around Switzerland.
The daily sorting capacity has increased by

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Swiss rental prices for apartments continue to rise

November 13, 2023

In Switzerland, rents for apartments on the market continued to rise in October. However, there were clear differences in the individual cantons.

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Across Switzerland, rents for new and re-rentable apartments – the so-called asking rents – rose by 0.4% in October compared to the previous month, according to the Homegate rent index published on Monday. The index advanced by 0.5 points to 123.8 points. On an annual basis, asking rents rose by an average of 4% in October in Switzerland.
+ Hundreds demonstrate against rising rents in Zurich
There were clear differences in the development of rental prices in the individual cantons. According to Homegate, the changes compared to September ranged between minus 0.5 and

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Swiss banks spend more on online advertising but lag in AI

November 9, 2023

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Retail banks have increased investment in digital marketing by 16% in a bid to attract younger clients. 

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In 2023, budgeted sums in this segment will total CHF 47.6 million ($52.8 million), up 16% on last year, according to an estimate by Colombus Consulting in its study on the digitalisation of the customer experience, published on Thursday.UBS, Postfinance and Raiffeisen occupy the online advertising podium. + Troubled Swiss banking sector sees drop in profits"The major retail banks have invested massively in new digital functions, while maintaining a hybrid approach with relationship services and advisers who remain at the centre of customer relations," Jean Meneveau,

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Swiss government wants to lower licence fee to CHF300

November 8, 2023

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The government wants to reduce the annual radio and television licence fee from the current CHF335 ($372) to CHF300 by 2029. The turnover threshold for companies to qualify for exemption has been raised from CHF500,000 to CHF1.2 million.

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On Wednesday the government put out for consultation an amendment to the relevant ordinance. In a press release, the government explains that it prefers to act in this way rather than proposing a direct or indirect counterproposal to the “CHF200 is enough!” initiative, as it wishes to retain responsibility for setting the level of the licence fee.+ Signatures handed in for reduction of Swiss licence feeThe government rejects the

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Switzerland scraps electric car tax exemption

November 8, 2023

Anyone who owns an electric car in Switzerland will have to pay automobile tax from January 1.

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The Federal Council decided on Wednesday to repeal this tax exemption for electric cars, which has been in effect since 1997.
The state government decided to make a corresponding change to the automobile tax ordinance on Wednesday, as it announced on Wednesday. The authorities justify the change in three ways: Firstly, it is important to counteract tax losses. The number of electric cars on Swiss roads has increased significantly.
Secondly, it is important to secure the deposits for the national highway and urban transport fund. Thirdly, the Federal Council wants to improve the state budget. The change to the automobile

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No real wage growth expected in 2024: UBS survey

November 8, 2023

Purchasing power in Switzerland is likely to remain under pressure next year. Companies surveyed by UBS want to pay their employees more wages for 2024, but higher salaries cannot compensate for the inflation.

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Specifically, the 389 companies surveyed as well as employer and employee associations expect an average wage increase of 1.9% for 2024.
Taking into account inflation expected at around 2%, real wages are therefore unlikely to rise next year, according to the conclusion published on Wednesday Salary survey by the major bank UBS.
“The majority of companies grant compensation for inflation, but rarely go beyond that,” says UBS economist Florian Germanier, summarizing the survey results. Real wages are

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Swiss potato harvest expected to drop by a third

November 4, 2023

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This year’s potato harvest has been disappointing with growers expecting a drop of around a third compared with recent years.

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Yields are still difficult to estimate at the moment. The final figures will not be known until early December, Ruedi Fischer, President of the Swiss Potato Growers’ Association (USPPT), told press agency Keystone-SDA.+ Switzerland forced to import potatoes for chips and crispsBut it is already clear that there will be "above-average losses that we have never seen before", he added, referring to an article in the German-language agricultural information service (LID). According to current forecasts, there could be a shortfall of 100,000 tonnes,

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Will a project to reintroduce European bison into Swiss forests work?

November 4, 2023

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The European bison, a species that differs slightly from its north American cousin, died out in Europe. Now it is to be reintroduced in Switzerland. Can a densely populated country tolerate such a large wild animal?

Christian Raaflaub

Radio, TV and online journalist. 

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| German Department

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Otto Holzgang, a biologist, stretches one arm out and puts his thumb in front of a bison grazing on the slope above us. “If my thumb covers the whole animal, we are far enough away,” he says.
We are standing a little more than 50 metres away from the bison, the official safety distance. Visitors inside the enclosure are not allowed to go any closer.Earlier,

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Credit Suisse wins London lawsuit over RMBS-linked notes

November 3, 2023

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Credit Suisse on Friday won a lawsuit at London’s High Court over the sale of $100 million (CHF90.47 million) of notes linked to residential mortgage-backed securities.

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Loreley Financing, a special purpose vehicle set up by German bank IKB, sued Credit Suisse over its 2007 purchase of the notes as part of a collateralised debt obligation transaction.The Jersey-registered company argued at a trial starting in April that it bought the notes because of Credit Suisse’s “false and dishonest representations” about their value.+ Read more: Credit Suisse’s legal problems regarding bond write-downsLoreley also argued the allegedly false representations were part of a “systemic

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Swiss authorities reportedly mull new rules to prevent bank runs

November 3, 2023

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Swiss authorities and lenders, including UBS, are discussing new measures to prevent bank runs after Credit Suisse’s last-ditch rescue earlier this year, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

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The talks, which have not been previously reported and are part of a broader review of the country’s banking rules, are intended for the top Swiss banks and could target mainly their wealth clients, two of the sources said.Among measures being discussed is the option to stagger a greater portion of withdrawals over longer periods of time, one of the sources said. Imposing fees on exits is also an alternative being discussed, two of the sources said.Rewarding clients

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UBS clash at Supreme Court tests whistleblower suit rules

October 11, 2023

The US Supreme Court considered reinstating a $900,000 (CHF810,000) jury verdict won by a fired UBS Group research strategist in a case that could make it easier for whistleblowers to win suits claiming retaliation under a federal investor-protection law.

 

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UBS contends that federal law requires whistleblowers to prove they were the victims of intentional retaliation. But that argument drew scepticism from several justices, including Neil Gorsuch, who questioned whether it could be squared with the language of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

“I don’t see ‘retaliation’ in the statute,” Gorsuch told UBS’s lawyer, Eugene Scalia. “You’re asking me to read things into a

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Chinese companies choose Switzerland over US and UK to raise money overseas

March 8, 2023

Zurich has less-demanding requirements over the transparency of company audits © Keystone / Walter Bieri
Chinese companies are flocking to Switzerland to raise capital after being discouraged from listing in the US by geopolitical tensions and in Britain by tougher audit standards.
Nine Chinese companies floated in Zurich last year, raising $3.2 billion (CHF3 billion) in the European country, according to SIX, the operator of the Swiss stock market. That far outstrips the $470 million they raised in New York, data from Dealogic stated.

Their shift of focus to Switzerland comes in response to months of tensions between Beijing and Washington over standards for Chinese companies on US markets. The US sought greater access to listed companies’ financial audits but

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Former top Credit Suisse shareholder Harris Associates sells out of bank

March 6, 2023

© Keystone / Michael Buholzer One of Credit Suisse’s longest-standing shareholders has sold its entire stake in the scandal-hit Swiss bank after losing patience with its strategy amid persistent losses and a client exodus. US investment manager Harris Associates, whose deputy chair and chief investment officer David Herro was for years among the Swiss bank’s …

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Swiss banks accused of hiding data behind secrecy laws

February 20, 2023

For journalists and historian, Swiss banking data remains behind locked doors. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Swiss banking secrecy used to be the bane of foreign countries trying to catch tax cheats. Now it’s the turn of Swiss journalists and historians to cry foul of laws that can hinder their work.

When not covering fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, banks and trade, swissinfo.ch’s business correspondent can be found playing cricket on various grounds in Switzerland – including the frozen lake of St Moritz.
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| English Department

The Bank Secrecy Act was tightened in 2015 following a spate of stolen data being bought by foreign tax authorities.
+ Bank secrecy vs freedom of the press
Financial historians complain that banks now

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