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GENEVA (AP) - Switzerland's president is hinting that the nation may be open to accepting an automatic exchange of banking data to crack down on tax evasion. The government has until now opposed that for fear of undermining its tradition of banking secrecy.

Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who is also the finance minister, said Thursday that other countries seeking to tax money held by their citizens in Swiss bank accounts accept that Switzerland cannot retroactively change its laws. But, she says, it cannot rule out considering a limited automatic exchange in the future if it secures concessions in return, such as better access to the European Union financial market.

Switzerland has struck several bilateral tax agreements, which usually require suspected tax cheats to make a one-time payment on undeclared assets to avoid punishment.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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