Switzerland: A parasite feeding on developing world?

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June 16, 2009

By Lord Aikins Adusei (Modern Ghana)

For more than half a century the Alpine nation of Switzerland has built a reputation as the world´s centre for tax evasion, fraud accounting, money laundering, racketeering, and above all a staunch ally of corrupt third world leaders and a great beneficiary of third world corruption.

Various categories of persons including Popes, presidents, prime ministers, corrupt dictators, wealthy business men, and drug dealers have all used and benefited from the banking secrecy laws of Switzerland. As a result her economy has been described as an underground economy, a deposit box for dirty money and a “dirt-driven economy”.

Over the last couple of years countries such as United States, Germany and France have argued that they have become victims of Swiss illegal financial activities and as result have stepped up their campaign to get Swiss authorities to cooperate in fighting tax evasion and money laundering. The campaign has even brought a row between the German Finance Minister and members of Swiss parliament. These nations claim they are loosing billions of dollars annually through tax evasion and other illegal financial activities. In 2009 an action by the US Justice Department against the Swiss Banking giant UBS earned the United States close to $1 billion. In 2001, the United States learned that the Swiss had protected the bank that handled finances for Osama Bin Laden. One of them, the Bahrain International Bank, had funds transiting through non-published accounts of Clearstream, which has been qualified as a “bank of banks” and was involved in one of Luxembourg’s major financial scandals.

Western governments have argued that dirty money in many forms welcomed by the Switzerland allows the proceeds of corruption, drug trafficking, racketeering and terrorism to tag alongside and deny the world´s poor the chance to escape poverty. Swiss banks are reputed to be holding an estimated 35% of the world’s private and institutional funds (or 3 trillion Swiss francs)”.

However, of all the victims of Swiss banking secrecy laws and her shady banking practices, developing countries and Africa in particular seem to have suffered the most. The global infrastructure of international financial secrecy with headquarters in Switzerland has helped bleed trillions of dollars in illicitly generated money out of Africa and the rest of the developing world. The activities of Swiss banking institutions and real estate companies have plunged third world nations into debts, poverty, misery, malnutrition, diseases, economic meltdown, infrastructure decay and political instabilities through the help they give to corrupt politicians, civil servants, the business elite and corrupt multinational corporations who collude and connive with the corrupt entities to loot and hide the proceeds of their ill-gotton gains.

Many third world countries especially those in Africa lack the infrastructures needed to run successful economies. They lack schools, hospitals, roads, harbours, rail infrastructure, irrigation facilities, electricity, clean water, telecommunication, sanitation facilities because of the loots. Many children are orphaned and malnourished and many do not have access to education and healthcare because money meant for all that are stolen and are sitting in Swiss banks such UBS, Credit Suisse. There has not been a single corrupt politician or dictator in Africa, Latin America and Asia who has not had dealings with this secretive alpine country. While third world countries continue to struggle to provide the basic necessities of life Swiss economy is washed with money that could save millions from hunger, starvation and diseases.

Every year since the year 2000 developing countries receive about $100-billion in aid annually from rich countries with about $10-billion going to Africa but these rich countries headed by Switzerland receive about $900- billion from these poor countries ($150-billion from Africa) in the form of tax evasion, embezzlement, fraud accounting, debt servicing and corruption. The World Bank´s Stolen Asset Recovery initiative estimates the cross-border flow of proceeds from criminal activities, corruption and tax evasion at between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion per year, about half of which come from developing and transitional economies.

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