Tax havens' days over, says head of Soc-Gen
PARIS: The practice of funnelling money to tax-free or low-tax countries such as Switzerland in order to avoid paying more punitive taxes at home is finished, the head of French bank Societe Generale said yesterday.
Governments and regulators across the world have cracked down on tax evasion in the wake of the financial crisis, a drive that has seen the United States and Europe heap pressure on Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco and others to surrender more information.
"With all the reforms today that have been done by various governments, tax havens - that is to say people with secret bank accounts hidden somewhere to avoid the tax authorities - in my view, that is over," SocGen chief executive Frederic Oudea told French television channel BFM.
Citing the example of Switzerland, he said: "What is happening right now means that nobody will take that kind of risk any more."
Swiss banks last month publicly apologised for their role in helping tax cheats, following a landmark settlement with the US authorities that would allow lenders to come forward over tax evasion by the US customers and avert prosecution by paying a fine. Reuters