Got a couple of million bucks lying around you'd like to stash on the hush-hush? Before visions of a Swiss bank account dance in your head, consider this: countries are fed up with Switzerland's refusal to help them catch tax evaders.
Hiding behind Swiss secrecy laws, suspected savvy criminals have used Switzerland as a financial loophole, illegally siphoning money away from government coffers. The Swiss government does nothing to assist foreign authorities locate the squirreled loot. By remaining neutral, Switzerland effectively takes the side of the criminals.
The Swiss people liken confidentiality between bankers and customers to that enjoyed by doctors and patients. The population overwhelmingly approves of the tradition, which attracts as much as $2 trillion in foreign money.
Other countries are ready to play hardball in order to get the secrecy laws changed. By withholding passport free travel, or other perks enjoyed by allies, the neighbors most impacted hope Switzerland will be pressured to change.
This controversy reveals an interesting gray area of national sovereignty. Should Switzerland be able to impose banking rules as it pleases, or should all the other countries be free to collect tax money that is rightfully theirs?