'No anonymity' for tax dodgers: French minister

GENEVA (AFP) - A crackdown on French tax evaders with hidden Swiss bank accounts is working and will accelerate, France's Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said in an interview broadcast on Swiss television on Sunday.

Mr Moscovici told Swiss public broadcaster RTS there would be "no anonymity" for those with undeclared accounts, and hailed a legal process whereby evaders could "regularise" their tax affairs by taking on certain penalties while escaping the greatest censure from the law.

The French finance ministry was receiving 95 requests a month from those wishing to come clean about their accounts, a figure that had previously been around 35, Mr Moscovici said.

He added there would be no amnesty for those with hidden bank accounts in Switzerland, the wealthy Alpine nation long accused of protecting the privacy of its clients over obligations to tax authorities in other nations.

The finance minister's remarks came in the wake of a deal signed on Thursday in Paris between the countries that means inheritances will be taxed where the recipient, rather than the deceased, is living.

Describing a "step on the way to an automatic exchange of information", Mr Moscovici said he hoped the accord would signal a grip that is ever tightening around French tax dodgers.

The minister stressed he had no desire to harass the Swiss, over bank secrecy, but said he wished the country might become "more European" and less isolated in its outlook.

Mr Moscovici faced criticism over the handling of the affair of disgraced former budget minister Jerome Cahuzac, who resigned from President Francois Hollande's government in March over an undeclared foreign bank account said to contain around 600,000 euros (S$990,000).

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