Two bankers with Swiss lender Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB) pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges they conspired to help American clients and others hide more than $420 million in offshore accounts from U.S. tax authorities, Reuters reported. The two men, along with a third employee of the bank ZKB, were among those charged by US authorities in cases related to offshore tax evasion by wealthy Americans using Swiss banks. They stand accused of having helped to hide at least $423 million (CHF429 million) in US taxpayer assets for nearly 200 clients between 2003 and 2009.
Switzerland ranks 18th in the latest edition of PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) Paying Taxes global study, which looks at how easy it is for a standardised, medium-sized domestic company to pay its taxes. A Swiss medium-sized company will pay 28,8% of its profits in taxes, substantially lower than the 40.3% average across the EU. The study ranks 190 countries according to the levels of bureaucracy involved in paying and filing taxes, but also the amount of tax levied on companies.
This Newsletter has reiterated that bonds are not an asset class that should be in one`s portfolio unless they are safe short-term high-yield corporate issues. The election victory of Donald Trump seems to have been the catalyst that set off a global rout for fixed-income securities. 10yr Treasuries yield increased from 1.88% on 8th November to 2.34% on 18th November 2016. Of course, if the yield increases, that means that the price on paper in the secondary market decreases.
Former British prime minister John Major believes there is a "credible case" for a second referendum on Brexit; he told guests at a private dinner in Westminster that departure from the EU must not be dictated by the "tyranny of the majority", The Times newspaper reported. "I hear the argument that the 48% of people who voted to stay should have no say in what happens. I find that very difficult to accept," as The Times newspaper reported.
The "made in Switzerland" brand is increasingly used. The new "Swissness" legislation, which comes into force in 2017, does not change the trend: 95% of industrial enterprises do not foresee any change in the value creation process, according to research of the University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur. The institute contacted 1000 companies active in the field of machinery and metallurgy, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), receiving 326 responses. The data analysis shows that despite the tightening of the rules, the use of the label "Swiss made" as a marketing tool will increase by 7% next year.
Consulting firm EY Switzerland (formerly Ernst & Young) will be the first professional services company to offer its clients the possibility of settling their invoices in Bitcoins. The option will be available from January 2017 onwards. The new Bitcoin ATM is part of an internal EY Switzerland digitalization program and is intended to make employees more familiar with the topics of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. “We don’t only want to talk about digitalization, but also actively drive this process together with our employees and our clients. It is important to us that everybody gets on board and prepares themselves for the revolution set to take place in the business world through blockchains, smart contracts and digital currencies. Blockchains are a very quickly developing technology that can permanently change many sectors.
The USD/JPY currency pair behaved in accordance with expectations on Thursday, having successfully retaken the 113.00 level and leaving the immediate resistance area intact. Despite technical indicators retaining bullish signals, the Buck now is under higher risk of weakening against the Japanese currency, as the pair still faces a rather strong resistance, now formed by the weekly R2 and the 23.60% Fibo. Even if bulls manage to push the Greenback higher, a surge beyond the ascending channel's resistance line at 114.44 is unlikely. The base case scenario is a decline up to 100 pips, as a slump further would imply a downside breach of the channel pattern.
Lufthansa pilots in Germany have said they will extend strike action again until Saturday, this time targeting long-haul flights in a long-running pay dispute.The dispute has grounded tens of thousands of passengers and cancelled hundreds of flights. By the end of Friday, an estimated total of 315,000 passengers will have been affected. Lufthansa's executive management board member Harry Hohmeister said it was "not possible" to meet the pilots' demand for a bigger wage rise.
The cabinet has endorsed plans to impose a gender quota for boards and managements of listed Swiss companies as part of a wide-ranging legal amendment to be discussed by parliament. The bill includes a minimum 30% quota for women on company boards and at least 20% for members of company managements. Over the issue Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said “The cabinet agreed that rules are necessary.” The discussions is coming up after last week, during UN committee in Geneva; the panel of experts said it welcomed Swiss progress since the last report in 2009. Overall, Switzerland needed to develop a ‘comprehensive national gender strategy’, it said.
Facebook has received a licence from the central bank in Ireland to operate a financial payments service, two years after applying for authorisation, according to the Sunday Business Post. A subsidiary of the social media giant can now act as a payments provider and electronic money issuer, as well as provide credit transfers and remittance services across the EU, as a result of the regulatory approval. The company has been in the payments space for some time in the US.
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