Paris has list of tax suspects in Bern

PARIS: Paris has obtained a list of 3,000 French taxpayers with bank accounts in Switzerland, days after the two countries signed a double taxation agreement, the French budget minister said, according to a newspaper.

Budget Minister Eric Woerth warned that account holders could face legal proceedings if they fail to put their tax affairs in order by the end of the year, the weekly Journal du Dimanche reported.

The accounts contain some euro3 billion ($4.3 billion), “some of which is very likely linked to tax evasion,” Woerth was quoted saying.

Those who come forward by December 31 would likely have to

pay back taxes and

any applicable penalties, but would not face

any charges, Woerth reportedly said. He ruled out a blanket amnesty for tax evaders.

The list — which includes names, account numbers and balances of some 3,000 accounts at three banks — had been obtained thanks to anonymous tips and to the banks’ collaboration, Woerth said in the paper, without naming banks.

Swiss officials declined to comment on the


In a separate interview with RTL radio, Woerth said he would meet in

the coming days with officials from all banks operating in France to

request they provide

lists of clients who have transferred money to foreign accounts.

Earlier this month Switzerland agreed to give the United States the names of 4,450 American taxpayers suspected of setting up secret offshore accounts with the help of Swiss bank UBS AG. The one-off deal was part of a settlement to end a long-running US investigation against UBS, which became the focus of Washington’s efforts to crack down on tax evaders.

European nations, led by France and Germany, have demanded similar access to information on their citizens with Swiss bank accounts.