By Guy Dinmore in Rome and Haig Simonian in Lugano, Switzerland. Published on FT on Oct 29, 2009
Italy yesterday urged Switzerland not to retaliate over their deepening tax and banking dispute after Italian finance police raided local branches of Swiss banks and stood accused of spying on Italians holding secret accounts across the border.
“Counter-measures certainly do not help,” Franco Frattini, Italian foreign minister, told reporters, while also trying to calm matters by assuring Swizerland that it was not being discriminated against and that bilateral relations remained “excellent”.
Billions of undeclared euros – estimates range from upwards of 125bn — held by Italians in Swiss banks are the focus of attempts by Italy’s cash-strapped centre-right government to repatriate funds under a generous tax amnesty passed by parliament this month. Read more…