November 7, 2012 / 11:00 AM / 6 years ago

Swiss, Greeks aim for swift tax deal on offshore accounts

ZURICH, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Switzerland and Greece are looking to clinch a deal to tax the secret bank accounts of Greeks who may have cheated on taxes, with the Swiss government saying on Wednesday it was prepared to begin formal negotiations.

“Bern and Athens are striving towards the swift conclusion of an agreement, similar to the agreements with Germany, Britain and Austria,” the Swiss government said in a statement. The two governments have already been discussing the tax issues for several months.

Switzerland’s $2 trillion offshore financial sector has come under attack in recent years, as cash-strapped governments eager to plug holes in their budgets fuel an international campaign against tax evastion.

The deal, which would impose a levy on account balances and a withholding tax on future gains while allowing clients to preserve anonymity, would help fill some of the gaping holes in Greece’s budget.

Reporting by Catherine Bosley

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