May 12, 2010 - Phil Hodgen

An assessment of what the Swiss Parliament will do about the UBS agreement


Observant fans of the UBS vs. IRS debacle are waiting with interest for action in the Swiss Parliament.  Will Parliament ratify the UBS agreement, thus disgorging names of thousands of Americans to the tender mercies of the Internal Revenue Service?

Here is an anonymous comment from a Swiss gentleman watching the political landscape with interest:

Thank you for your update. I am not surprised about what I hear from you regarding the amnesty process. I am watching Swiss TV daily, and at the moment there is a big debate among the political parties regarding the “Staatsvertrag” between Switzerland and the US. The biggest party SVP (right wing) wants this contract, which regulates how Switzerland responds to the US requests regarding UBS files etc, to be thrown out as a violation of Swiss law of privacy. These are the same guys who came up with the idiotic “Minaretverbot”, which enraged the Muslim population (Khadafy declared holy war against Switzerland). The left (SP, socialist party) joined in blocking the Staatsvertrag. In some 4 or 5 weeks they will have to decide. I think this could have influenced the decisions of the IRS, and it will be interesting to see the development in a few weeks.

In a follow-up email from him, he noted:

I just watched the Swiss evening news, and at the moment it is questionable that this Staatsvertrag will go through. That would open up the all the differences between the US and Switzerland again.

The SP wants more regulation of the banks (the Staatsvertrag is not strict enough for them), while the SVP thinks only of national interest and pride. I attach a link to NZZ (main newspaper in Zurich), but it is in German:

Nonbinding opinion and all that. Neither my correspondent (nor I) pretend to be political experts. It’s just that I know there are a ton of people who are interested in this topic. I find it interesting that the right-wing political party is allied with the left-wing political party on this topic.

Look at the NZZ article via Google Translate, if you like.



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