x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Banker's children caught up in Swiss-US tax row: report

US attempts to clean up on tax evasion took a new twist when a Geneva banker's two teenage children were detained when they arrived on US soil.

GENEVA // US attempts to clean up on tax evasion took a new twist when a Geneva banker's two teenage children were detained when they arrived on US soil.

The teenagers, due to visit their grandparents, were questioned for several hours by US officials who asked them the whereabouts of their father and whether he sometimes worked in the country, La Tribune de Genève newspaper reported yesterday.

During their six-hour interrogation the youngsters were not allowed to contact their grandparents who were waiting for them at an undisclosed airport.

The development is the latest twist in a long-running tax dispute that has dominated Swiss-US relations in recent years, with Swiss banks agreeing in April to hand over confidential information to Washington in April so as to avoid US proceedings.

In all, some 10,000 names of people linked to Swiss banks with American clients were given to the US tax office with Bern's blessing, according to SwissRespect, the organisation founded by the Geneva lawyer Douglas Hornung who represents bank employees caught up in the affair.

"I advise my clients not to leave Switzerland," said Hornung, who advises around 40 bank staff in the country.

Another six banks are in Washington's sights: Wegelin, Neue Zürcher Bank, Liechtenstein landesbank LLB and the Israeli banks Leumi, Hapoalim and Mizrahi.