Swiss banks used secret codes for transactions

Swiss banks used secret codes for transactions

 As the famed secrecy walls of Swiss banks crumble under continuing global pressure, it now emerges that secret codes were used not just for account details but also for communications between the bankers and their clients.

A number of such codes, including ‘iTunes’ and ‘gas’ for funds and ‘download’ for instruction to transfer the money are coming to the fore after a number of banks signed settlement agreements with the US tax authorities.

The information being shared by the Swiss government with India and other countries on suspected black money accounts is also removing the layers of secrecy employed by the banks to keep the clients and their money away from the preying eyes of tax authorities and other enforcement agencies. The fresh details are, however, also adding to an already tough job of unearthing the illicit funds as a significant portion was diverted to a number of other jurisdictions, including Singapore, Israel, Cyprus, Lebanon, Hong Kong and Dubai, shows the ‘Statement of Facts’ shared by various Swiss banks with the US Department of Justice.

The banks have also admitted to assisting their clients in using sham entities registered in various jurisdictions, bogus insurance products and providing fake nominees to be shown as ‘beneficiary owners’ of undeclared funds. It has also emerged that Swiss banks sent relationship managers to high-profile sporting and entertainment events across the world to lure wealthy customers looking to park their undeclared money in a ‘safe custody’. The clients were also entertained at exotic locations by the bankers on a regular basis.

In many cases, the banks also disguised their clients’ home country by mentioning the names of the jurisdictions that were not considered to be very tough on tax evasion. Some common code phrases used included the clients asking their relationship managers at the bank to “download some iTunes” when they actually wanted funds to be repatriated.

Break-code banking

Secret codes used for business with Swiss banks
Commonplace words used as codes by banks, members
Relationship managers hired to scout for rich customers

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