Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

2 Swiss banks to end 200-yr secrecy and publish financials

Published time: August 22, 2014 19:41
Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann

Two Geneva-based banks that have kept their finance sheets shrouded in secrecy since 1796 will publish their earnings amid pressure from abroad.

Lomard Odier and Pictet, two of Switzerland’s largest independent private banks, will report financials in August, Bloomberg News reports, citing a source from Odier.

Lombard Odier, Geneva’s oldest wealth management firm, will report August 28, with Pictet also due to report by the end of the month.

Together the banks oversee about $630 billion in asset management, both private and institutional, according to Bloomberg.

Pichet is under investigation by the US Justice Department, along with a dozen other Swiss banks for helping Americans dodge taxes. Lombard Odier has voluntarily agreed to swap information with US authorities.

After much delay, last year Switzerland, the world’s largest offshore wealth center, signed an agreement to share financial data with tax authorities in the US and Europe.

In October 2013 a convention with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and agreed to exchange data with 60 member countries, including neighbors Germany and France looking to track down tax evaders.

The US has an especially tumultuous relationship with Switzerland over tax evasion, and has threatened billions in claims if the country didn’t make banking more transparent.

Switzerland’s oldest private bank, Wegelin & Co., shut its doors after it pled guilty to helping Americans hide more than $1.2 billion from the International Revenue Service (IRS).

In February 2014, Credit Suisse was accused by the US Senate of storing more than 12 billion Swiss francs for more than 22,000 American clients.

Pressure reached a peak in 2009 when Switzerland’s biggest lender UBS admitted to helping 52,000 American clients evade taxes.

Switzerland is home to more than $2 trillion in assets that are held in more than 300 private banks.