Finland and Switzerland have signed a new tax cooperation treaty that enables Finnish authorities to access Swiss bank account data even when no crime is suspected. The treaty, which helps investigators home in on hidden assets, still requires parliamentary ratification in both states.
Until now, Swiss officials have only handed over information when the criteria for tax fraud have been met according to Swiss law.
Finland has recently entered into similar agreements with other states with strict banking secrecy principles, including Luxembourg and Belgium. A treaty is also in the works to crack open Austrian vaults, and Finnish authorities are already planning new tax agreements with Singapore and Malaysia to ease bilateral information exchange.
According to the Finance Ministry, the majority of states release banking information when it is requested. The Nordic countries are, however, collectively negotiating new deals with several tax havens, including Aruba, Gibraltar, the Dutch Antilles, Bermuda, Guernsey, the British Virgin Islands, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands and Jersey.