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OECD regrets Swiss veto over tax haven list

  The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said on Friday that it regretted Switzerland’s decision to veto part of the OECD’s budget in a dispute over bank secrecy in the Alpine tax haven.

World leaders agreed at a G20 summit last week to crack down on tax fraud and asked the OECD to publish lists of tax havens.

Switzerland landed on a list of financial centers that have yet to deliver on pledges to meet international standards of bank information disclosure.

“The OECD acted in good faith,” OECD chief Angel Gurria said in a letter to Swiss President Hans-Rudolf Merz, a copy of which was released to journalists. “As you know very well, Switzerland does not yet have a single agreement on the exchange of tax information that conforms to the OECD standard,” he said in the letter.

The Swiss veto Gurria referred to concerns a budget line of €134,800 ($179,000) the Paris-based OECD has earmarked for G20-related work. OECD budget need approval from all 30 of its members, which include all of world’s wealthy economies.

As pressure mounted ahead of the G20 summit on April 2, the Swiss government announced that the world’s largest offshore financial center would shift toward OECD standards on disclosure of bank information. (Reuters)