On December 10 the Federal Assembly of Switzerland approved the extension of the agreement on the automatic exchange of banking information to other 18 countries, including Albania.
The Council of States has given the green light to the provision already approved by the National Council concerning the extension of the agreement on the automatic exchange of banking information to other 18 countries of the world starting from 2021: Albania, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Dominican Republic , Niue, Ghana, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Macao, Maldives, Nigeria, Oman, Peru, Samoa, Saint Martin, Trinidad and Tobago and Vanuatu.
The Swiss government has verified that the jurisdictions with which it relies on automatic exchange satisfy a number of criteria. Furthermore, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is responsible for monitoring compliance with the agreements. In particular, it is a matter of verifying whether these countries respect the confidentiality of the data or whether the automatic exchange does not generate severe violations of human rights.
How the exchange of banking information works
Each country is required to transmit to the partner countries the data relating to the financial assets of their tax payers, on a regular basis and without specific request. The information includes account and tax identification numbers, surname, first name, address and date of birth of the tax payer, types of income and account balance.
After defending banking secrecy for a long time from international pressures, the government and parliament of Switzerland came a few years ago to the conclusion that adherence to OECD standards was necessary to safeguard the reputation and competitiveness of the Swiss financial center.
To date, Switzerland receives banking information from 75 countries from the world, 63 of which receive banking information from the Swiss confederation. Before joining the OECD rules, Switzerland was one of the countries considered as "tax havens" thanks to the banking secrecy that allowed to hide undeclared and / or illicit proceeds.
From the 2021, the Albanian authorities will be able to receive banking information regarding Albanian citizens in Switzerland and vice versa. Information that may be useful in investigations concerning the corruption of high level state and political officials.