I owe readers a post on the UBS settlement, which will be forthcoming in the next couple of days.
IN the meantime, Eric Woerth, the French minister of budget, made a startling announcement yesterday that the French government has acquired a list of 3000 names of French taxpayers who hold about $4.3 billion in Swiss banks. This announcement came shortly after the signing of the new agreement between France and Switzerland on information exchange, which echoes the OECD language.
What's the source of the info, since the Swiss are still trying to hang onto their banking secrecy? The Swiss say they didn't furnish the list. The French minister says they put it together based on tax audits and information from French banks about money transferred to tax havens.
Eventually, we'll have new international understandings about banking secrecy. But Switzerland will hold out on real exchange as long as it can. Meantime, good sleuthing through audits and bank disclosure rules will help, as the French are demonstrating.