THE LOWER house of Switzerland’s parliament have now rejected an American advance to share information on tax avoidance.
Parliament’s lower house voted 123 to 63 against debating the legislation, effectively killing the law, even though the upper house had confirmed its support earlier in the day.
A majority of parliamentarians voted against even debating the bill, which was designed to allow Swiss banks to avoid secrecy laws. Switzerland’s government insists that banks must be able to circumvent the law to avoid prosecution by the US.
The country’s strict laws on client protection have made it attractive destination for offshore finance.
Some Swiss banks fear that without an exemption in the law, they will be indicted by US prosecutors.
Martin Naville, head of the Swiss-US Chamber of Commerce, said: “the Americans will get the data they want. They will not stop until they have it.”