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Old 23.02.2011, 13:01
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Switzerland and USA: banking secrecy & relations

http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2006/10/06BERN1867.html

Summary:
Counterterrorism Coordinator Henry Crumpton met with Swiss officials on September 7 to urge better intelligence sharing on terrorism. Crumpton highlighted the importance of a broad exchange of information as a necessary means to defeating terrorist plans. Swiss officials expressed surprise at USG (US Government) dissatisfaction with their performance, but pointed to various Swiss legal and resource reasons to explain their inability to share more. Swiss officials added that they welcomed the President's decision to transfer 14 high-value al-Qaida suspects to military
custody, asserting that more such gestures would make U.S.-Swiss counterterrorism cooperation easier to sell to the Swiss public.

Meeting later with Swiss officials from the Swiss Banking Commission and from the departments of Foreign Affairs, Economics, and Finance, Ambassador Crumpton joined by Embassy law enforcement and Econoff -- observed that Swiss bank secrecy laws proved a formidable obstacle regarding how much information the Swiss could share with the U.S. on suspect assets. Urs Zulauf, spokesman for the Swiss Banking Commission, explained that the Swiss needed very specific information from the USG in order to freeze assets or start criminal cases; information that was not always forthcoming. He explained that the Swiss legal system had very explicit requirements regarding terrorism financing: "we have no flexibility".

Pulling Vez aside at the end, Ambassador Crumpton underlined the gravity of the situation, describing Switzerland as nearly the only country in Western Europe to have not provided a response to our information on the al-Qaida threat in Europe. Vez was vague in his response, giving no indication he would improve things in the near term.
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