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FHM, May 2001
The Swiss: neutral, clean, rubbish. But they're politically stable, have a sturdy currency, and offer canny crims a bank account that's almost risk-free...
"Thirty-five per cent of worldwide offshore holdings are managed in Switzerland," says a partner of Swiss financial consultancy, Micheloud & Co. With over 400 Swiss banks in operation - from postal accounts with no minimum deposit, to big private banks which require a minimum initial sum of around £145,000 - it helps to go through financial intermediaries such as Micheloud.
Even though Swiss banks, by law, have an obligation to be discreet (a banker who reveals information about you without your consent, risks months in prison), you can't just wander in off the street and stash your bullion in a Swiss vault: "The banks have to understand the economic origin of the money" . Which means you might be asked to provide proof of where your dirty dough came from. If the bank sees a perplexing transaction, they can override their secrecy laws and investigate you, "And the money can be blocked extremely quickly," as a result of the 370 inquiries conducted last year, six billion French francs (£600 million) were blocked.
Swiss accounts are entirely tax-free, but under British law, all income generated in a foreign bank account is taxable, so you will be liable to give penny-punching lard-arse Gordon Brown his share. However, if the Inland Revenue don't know about your offshore account, you won't have to pay up, although you'll end up on tax evasion charges if you get found out
To bury your money among cuckoo-lovers, contact Micheloud & Co via their website, www.swiss-bank-accounts.com
FHM is a weekly magazine published in London with a 750'000 copies print run.
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