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Opinion: Privacy Must Not Be Sacrificed

FINANCIAL PRIVACY—SWITZERLAND

February 12, 2010

In a New York Times editorial, James Nason explains the history of the Swiss tradition of banking secrecy and tells why privacy must not be sacrificed "on the altar of international cooperation in tax matters." The Swiss codified their secrecy tradition into law with the federal banking act in 1934. The confidentiality is not a "gimmick devised to attract foreign clients to their banks," Nason writes in defense of the institution, which he says "serves as a handy lightning conductor," during difficult economic times, "on which financially challenged states can discharge their frustrations..." Rather, writes Nason, it "reflects the very high degree of trust that exists between the Swiss state and its citizens and it has strong democratic foundations."
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