Full List of Countries for Bank Secrecy
Italian traders established the tradition of banking secrecy in the 1600s in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region. Later, it was embraced by Geneva bankers and spread throughout the French-speaking region of Switzerland. The banking secrecy is a contract between banks and their customers that forbids the disclosure of client information to outside parties absent express permission or a proven criminal offense
Swiss banking secrecy began with the 1934 Banking Act. It prohibited banks from disclosing client information without consent. Switzerland became famous for bank secrecy with numbered bank accounts and underground bank vaults for certain clients. Criminals and money launderers abused banking secrecy in the late 20th century.
After concerns and leaks, Switzerland ratified FATCA and OECD, ending financial confidentiality. Switzerland adopted OECD Model Convention Article 26 in 2009. This allowed Switzerland to disclose tax information with other nations in response to a specific and justified request, even if there was no tax offense. Financial secrecy—not bank secrecy—is still one of Switzerland’s top three.
Most nations have strict money laundering, tax fraud, and other financial crime regulations. Financial institutions must obey these guidelines and assist regulators if they suspect a transaction or conduct is illegal.
The good news is that a few offshore jurisdictions (the last will close in 2023) will keep their clients’ financial information private. If you want the most anonymity, select a private bank.
- A country that isn’t part of the CRS and hasn’t signed an OECD tax exchange deal
- A top place for keeping financial secrets.
- No deals with your home country to charge you taxes twice
- If you are a US citizen and you live in
On top of that, it makes sense to use the flag theory and not spend more than six months in any country where you have a bank account, even if you are a citizen or live there.
A popular list of countries with secret bank accounts:
- The British Virgin Islands
- The Channel Islands
- Liechtenstein Monaco
- Hong Kong Islands of the Netherlands
- San Marin
- Islands of Turks and Caicos
- Wikipedia is a source.
From Low to High: Bank Secrecy
According to an IMF study, here is a quick comparison of the amount of bank secrecy from low to high.
- Low Secrecy – United States
- Medium Secrecy – Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jersey, numerous other Commonwealth countries including India, Malaysia, and Singapore, and the Scandinavian countries
- Quite High Secrecy – Denmark, France, and Germany
- High Secrecy – Austria, Greece, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Switzerland (some cantons only)
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