Switzerland says Italy's Monti ready to resume tax talks if serves a second term

MILAN Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:10pm EST

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MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti has pledged to resume talks on a tax deal with Switzerland if he serves a second term after next month's election, a Swiss spokesman said.

Rome and Bern have been negotiating on a tax agreement since May as Italy seeks to recoup tax revenues from Italian citizens it believes have evaded tax by moving savings to Switzerland.

"On the political level Monti isn't authorized to negotiate during the period until the elections in Italy," a spokesman for the Swiss Federal Department of Finance said on Friday.

"He promised, however, that he would reinforce these negotiations should he be also the next prime minister of Italy."

Since Monti announced in December that he was resigning as prime minister, talks have continued only to examine technical aspects of a possible deal.

The spokesman confirmed that Monti and Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf met on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and discussed fiscal issues.

Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter said last week he expected a tax deal with Italy to be reached soon and hoped the Italian election on February 24-25 would not interrupt talks.

(Reporting by Elvira Pollina, writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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