A federal judge in Sao Paulo recently sent a letter to the United Nations and the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering to accuse Switzerland of violating a UN international convention because the Swiss government refused to inform a Credit Suisse employee that he had been subpoenaed to testify in Brazil.
The employee in question, Thomas Ulhmann, had been indicted in a criminal case in Brazil, accused of participating in a scheme that allowed Brazilians to open Credit Suisse bank accounts to launder money.
Switzerland does not have a bilateral money laundering agreement with Brazil, which forced the judge to arrange the subpoena through the 2003 Palermo Convention, signed by both countries, whereby both countries in theory should cooperate on matters related to money laundering.
Switzerland continues to snub the Brazilian judge, saying that Ulhmann did not violate Swiss laws.
This exchange has gone on amidst the larger debate over Switzerland's role in global money laundering practices. Switzerland has been included on the OECD and G-20 lists of "fiscal paradises." In response to this accusation, Switzerland has frozen all contributions to the OECD.
Finally, according to the BBC, some 70% of Brazilian overseas investments go to fiscal paradises. In 2008, some US$104 billion in Brazilian investments was placed abroad, with 50% of that money placed in Bahamas and the Caymans.
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