Online petition in Europe challenges tax havens
ZURICH (Reuters) - European campaigners launched an online petition on Wednesday for a clampdown on tax havens, demanding a "truth commission" to investigate Switzerland's role in corruption and tax evasion.
Years of spending cuts and tax rises in countries struggling to tame national debts have stoked public indignation about tax avoidance by the rich.
Brussels-based group Transparency Europe launched the petition on Change.org (www.change.org/users/46852749).
"For the past years, the headlines in Europe and around the world have been filled with one tale after another about offshore havens, bad banking, money laundering, and official corruption," the petition reads.
"The time for endless fascination with the salacious details of particular cases is over. It is time to do something about it. Nothing less than the future of democracy is at stake."
France was rocked by an admission last week from former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac that he had held a secret Swiss bank account, while on Thursday Austria's finance minister told Britain and the United States to shed light on offshore financial centres in their own back yards.
Luxembourg has announced plans to lift bank secrecy rules from 2015 for EU citizens who have savings there, adding to pressure on Switzerland.
Switzerland - the world's biggest offshore centre with $2.1 trillion in assets, according to the Boston Consulting Group - has pledged to cooperate more with foreign tax investigations.
Besides the "truth and justice" commission on Switzerland, the Transparency Europe petition calls for criminal action against politicians and officials with suspect fortunes stashed in tax havens and for a fund to help whistleblowers.
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Govt considers ban on e-cigarettes, sale of single smokes
- Islamic State fighters kill 220 Iraqis from tribe that opposed them
- India's fiscal deficit in H1 almost 83 pct of full-year target
- Muslim men over 50 pray at Jerusalem's Aqsa mosque amid tight security
- Air strikes hit Kobani as Kurdish peshmerga prepare to enter
Shares Hit Record
The BSE Sensex and Nifty surged to record highs for a second consecutive session on Friday after Bank of Japan's surprise expansion of its massive stimulus programme raised hopes for additional foreign inflows, boosting blue-chips such as Larsen & Toubro. Full Article
China's shadow banking sector growing rapidly, third largest in world - FSB. Full Article