Jul 05 2011

99% of Greek accounts in Swiss banks are undeclared

Posted by: Nick Shaxson in: Thoughts

Ever wondered why Greece is in such a mess? All sorts of reasons, of course. Tax evasion is a big, huge, factor – as is widely recognised.

How bad is the problem? Well, thanks to a commenter on this blog, I’ve had to dig up a report by Swiss brokers Helvea, which I thought I’d reproduce here.

I have the original hard copy, and this website seems to provide the authentic report, as far as I can tell. Their table on page 13 notes that just one percent of Greek (and Italian) assets in Swiss banks are declared to their home tax authorities. (The Spanish and French aren’t much better, according to this table, at 3% each; the Germans come top with a full 31%)

Undeclared assets aren’t exactly the same thing as tax-evading assets, but close enough. And note that Helvea considers its overall figures for assets stashed in Swiss banks to be conservative.

So 99% of Greeks stashing cash in Switzerland – at least according to a Helvea report in 2009 – were undeclared.

This is not breaking news – it was reported elsewhere at the time (and in Treasure Islands) – but I think it is worth repeating amid the current turmoil.

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