October 23, 2011 / 9:50 AM / 7 years ago

Swiss banking group would support U.S. tax deal

* Swiss Banking Association not opposed to group requests

* Switzerland must work with OECD to define behavioural patterns

ZURICH, Oct 23 (Reuters) - The Swiss Banking Association would not oppose a proposal allowing the United States to get access to client data through group requests, a Swiss newspaper reported on Sunday.

Switzerland is currently seeking to add to its double taxation agreement with the United States an amendment that would allow the United States to gain access to client data based on the behavioural patterns of clients.

The move is currently opposed by conservative politicians including the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP).

“We do not fundamentally oppose requests according to behavioural patterns, as long as fishing expeditions are clearly ruled out,” Thomas Sutter, spokesman for the Swiss Banking Association was quoted as saying in the Sonntagszeitung newspaper.

The banks are also calling for Switzerland to play a more active role in defining the OECD standards for group requests, Sutter said.

“Switzerland must actively participate in working out the definition of behavioural patterns of clients for group requests in the OECD.”

For group requests it is important to define what types of behaviour could constitute a tax offence, Sutter said. For example, a certain place of residence or a trip to Switzerland should not be put forward as a reason for suspicious behaviour.

Swiss banks Credit Suisse , Julius Baer and Basler Kantonalbank , accused of helping Americans to dodge taxes, were summoned to the parliamentary commission hearing last week at which they were asked to explain their actions.

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