With the reliability of a finely-tuned watch, the latest release of foreign-currency reserves held at the Swiss National Bank has shown yet another record, in a sign the central bank continues to swim against the tide. The foreign exchange reserves jumped by nearly 15 billion Swiss francs ($14.93 billion) in March. The SNB held 683.181 billion francs worth of foreign currency at the end of March, compared with 668.332 billion francs in February, revised from an originally reported 668.18 billion, preliminary data calculated according to the standards of the International Monetary Fund showed. The franc fell to about 1.07 francs to the euro after the data release, which followed news of U.S. missile strikes against an airbase in Syria that prompted inflows into assets considered safe havens.
The EU and Switzerland agreed on Thursday to reopen talks on upgrading trade and political ties, following Bern’s retreat last year on a controversial immigration quota that highlighted the difficulties Britain will face over Brexit. At a press conference in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that both sides had agreed to conclude a new framework agreement by the end of the year.
The Italian Tax Agency Revenue compiled a list of possible tax evaders. After 750 Italian papers identified in Panama, there's other special surveillance: 3,500 Credit Suisse clients who signed life insurance policies (known as polizza mantello in italian) and numbered bank accounts. Rossella Orlandi, Director of the Agency, has announced on Thursday to send very soon to Swtizerland collective requests for taxpayers who didn't seize the opportunity offered by the first voluntary disclosure and didn't comply with the tax authorities.
The German Parliament approved a plan Wednesday that will force social media companies like Facebook and Twitter to remove hate speech within 24 hours or face a fine of up to $53 million. Angela Merkel’s cabinet voted on the measures amid concerns over free speech, with campaigners, technology firms and journalists raising fears that tightened regulations could restrict expression. "Hate crimes that are not effectively combated and prosecuted pose a great danger for the peaceful cohesion of a free, open and democratic society," said Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet.
Deutsche Bank has lost several senior employees after paying out employee bonuses last month. Earlier this year, the bank cut its 2016 bonus pool by nearly 80%. According to Bloomberg, at least three executives have left the bank’s trading unit in Asia, two of whom have reportedly taken jobs at competitor Credit Suisse. Europe's largest investment bank in January scrapped bonuses of its top executives and slashed variable pay for other senior employees as chief executive John Cryan seeks to rebuild capital buffers eroded by misconduct fines.
French magistrates are investigating 26 individuals or institutions suspected of hiding huge sums of money in tax havens through Panama, the Seychelles, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore. Tax authorities are looking into 416 suspected tax dodgers in an inquiry sparked by last year's Panama Papers revelations, according to Le Monde newspaper. The investigators are part of an elite white-collar crime unit set up following revelations that then finance minister Jérôme Cahuzac had dodged tax through a secret Swiss bank account.
A new auction record was reached when the Pink Star went for $71.2 million, at a Sotheby’s auction Tuesday in Hong Kong . It was sold just five minutes into bidding, the BBC reports. The Pink Star is the largest flawless fancy vivid pink diamond ever graded by the Gemological Institute of America. The diamond had failed to sell in November 2013 when the buyer could not pay for its value at that time which was placed at $83 million. The gorgeous bauble was purchased by well-known Hong Kong jeweler Chow Tai Fook and was immediately renamed the CTF Pink in memory of the late Dr. Cheng Yu-Tung, father of the current chairman and founder of Chow Tai Fook, and commemorates the brand’s 88th anniversary.
In a new study of tourist-friendly countries released Thursday by the World Economic Forum (WEF), European economies dominated the top-10 rankings, with Spain leading the pack, indicating the region was well placed to attract overseas visitors and create tourism jobs. France took second place, followed by Germany, while the U.K. placed fifth, Italy ranked eighth and Switzerland was tenth. The Alpine country lost 4 positions referred last survey in 2015. The Swiss index of tourism competitiveness stood at 4.9 on a scale that goes from 1 to 7, while two yeras ago, it was equal to 5 points. Switzerland lost ground (43rd position), especially in the exploitation of natural resources, while it remains the number one in the global ranking relative sustainable environment.
Proxy adviser Glass Lewis on Tuesday recommended Credit Suisse shareholders reject its proposal to pay 25.99 million Swiss francs ($25.9 million) in short-term bonuses to the executive board in a binding vote at the April 28 annual general meeting. The amount appears “wholly inappropriate given the loss suffered by shareholders in the last two fiscal years,” the San Francisco-based proxy adviser said in its recommendations for the bank’s annual meeting on April 28. Proposed compensation for the board of directors is “excessive,” as Bloomberg reported.
Switzerland and Italy are in a diplomatic spat over Switzerland's decision to close three border crossings at night in a bid to fight crime. The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned the Swiss ambassador for urgent talks Tuesday, emphasizing that the closings violate Europe's norms on free circulation. Switzerland, unlike Italy, is not a member of the European Union but has signed up to the passport-free Schengen zone and free movement of persons accords.
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