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Swiss anti-corruption expert: My colleagues and I were thought to be clowns

Mark Pieth

Professor of Criminal Law at Basel University Mark Pieth called on Switzerland to seek more tax transparency. To attain the goal Switzerland will have to strengthen tax legislation.

Pieth recalls his speech with the anti-corruption initiative at one of the previous WEF: “[Participants] thought my colleagues and I were clowns”.

The audience did not take seriously his project of launching the Partnering for Anti-Corruption Initiative at that time. However, now it is one of the key programs of the The World Economic Forum.

Despite the fact that his project works, the specialist assures that it seems impossible to fully solve the problem of corruption at the official level in populist countries, for example, in Brazil. He is convinced that people in these countries should not believe the authorities when it comes to fighting financial crime.

“The real tragedy is that many [officials] are the worst of crooks,” said Pieth during the WEF, which is held in Davos January 22-25.

According to the expert, at the moment it is the private sector that can affect the reduction in the number of financial crimes. In particular, he underlined that it’s time to pay attention to India and China, where the problem is acute.

However, not only private companies can stop evading taxes with the help of offshore zones. Mark Pieth said that Switzerland, which is itself a very attractive “tax haven”, is obliged to support transparency of the tax system.

The main step in the fight against tax evasion at the international level for Switzerland, which took the tenth place in the ranking of the best countries for doing business according to Forbes, may be strengthen legal regulation of the status of offshore zones.

In addition, the professor stressed that in the settlement of the problem of tax fraud, progress is now visible thanks to the “exchange of information through the OECD, and Switzerland is participating in this”.