work-in-progress


Lex Helvetica Philippika against QI/FATCA/OECD aberrations
cutting through the fog of  IRS Rev. Proc. 2000-12 (see also Rev. Proc 2005-77)
(Suppose: I'm a kingpin with $100mio to wash)
by  Iconoclast - December 29, 2011 - url: www.solami.com/kingpin.htm ¦ .../QI.htm ¦ .../QIdetails.htm ¦ .../irsquery.htm
tks 4 notification of errors, comments & suggestions: +4122-7400362 ¦ swissbit@solami.com - copyright - [emphasis added]

Warning: This is a receipe for money laundering alright, but don’t rush to call the police just yet - my friends at OECD, FATF, FSA, FINMA, etc. have still to go a mile or so to act again as Piper of Hamelin and lead the world to enhanced happiness by criminalising original thinking and turn puzzles, recipes and cartoons into predicate criminal acts. And don't run away either to try it out before having paid my consultancy fee - including the one you conveniently forgot last time. For there are no free lunches, not for my colleagues and most certainly not for those who, here and there, have made anti-money laundering (AML) their business but who - after the current tsunami will be over - are going to be either out of business by default or convert on their own into facilitators of economic recovery and growth (as some visionaries originally proposed when FINMA was set up).
    To be sure, the inventors of the American qualified intermediary, or QI system deserve some kudos. For they recognised early on that the growing tendency to criminalise market behavior will produce huge ostrasized and essentially uncontrolled funds jeopardising the proper functioning of markets and even states. These bureaucracy-driven developments essentially started out with treaty shopping, insider, AML and anti-corruption laws and now, with the preposterous anti-freedom, anti-market and anti-sovereignty anti-tax avoidance convention dubbed OECD's INTERFIPOL with its automatic tax data exchange provisions (see below: G), the world has entered a phase many people are or will be worrying about. For these "underground" or black economy funds on the trillion dollar scale are indeed denaturing if not derailing legitimate and even indispensable market functions, as the boni, debt and other current crisis show ever more impressively.
    Identifying the forces and mechanisms at work, and organising a rechanneling of the flow of these artificially created parallel-market funds thus, fundamentally, is desirable and called for. That a single country should legitimately develop a global monopoly in this field is less evident. And that all of this should be hidden from the purview of the constitutional lawmaker here and there is even less acceptable. The QI system thus deserves special scrutiny. With its elaborately masked backup withholding tax never authorized by the US Congress and yet entailing unaccounted-for revenue streams in the hundred billion dollar park, it is an insult to human intelligence to justify its existence - and its reckless enforcement as has happened in the UBS, Credit Suisse and other cases - by essentially hiding this and its sister monster FATCA behind relative chicken-feed tax avoidance losses in the hundred million dollar range. In this sense, let’s try to dispel the deliberately thick fog the IRS fellows laid over their QI baby, and lets look for mutually helpful lessons to be drawn from this exercise.

1.    What changes occurred if I had already an account prior to January 1, 2001 in a privacy haven with a bank which later became a Qualified Intermediary (QI), based on its Qualified Intermediary Agreement (QIA) with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?
    I haven't noticed exactly dissuasive changes, neither to clients like myself, nor to the bank I'm dealing with who - just like the specially appointed and IRS-agreed fiduciary - is eager to collect the big fees associated with backup withholdings. For I have had neither a really pursuasive obligation to heed any of my banker's QI-related requests, nor has he been under a compelling obligation - meaning supported by credible IRS sanction threats - to do more than issue the requested numbers of verifiable pro forma requests. These information and authorization requests - on the surface of it - have all focussed on tax cheats. They haven't bothered the real, the some thousand times more important targets, i.e. the backup withholding tax-paying big boys. Which has all been to the delight of their objective QI and IRS buddies. And since my interests have not been tax avoidance either, but bringing my parallel-market funds back into the ordinary circuit, at the end of the day everybody has gotten his cut and been happy - that is until the IRS was taken over by another "Pharao who didn't know Joseph", as the Bible says.

    Summarised and translated in 2008 into plain English for being grasped by a laymen and US judge, the QIA provided in off-shore bank account cases opened either before or after the QIA's entry into force:

"Foreign banks further agree to issue IRS Forms 1099 to United States customers for United States source payments of dividends, interest, rents, royalties and other fixed or determinable income paid into the United States customers' off-shore bank accounts. Alternatively, if a client refused to be identified under the Q.I. Agreement, foreign banks agreed to withhold any pay over a twenty-eight percent withholding tax on U.S. source payments and then bar the client from holding U.S. investments. In addition, the sales proceeds, interest and dividends earned on non-United States investments, if the purchase or sale of the investment was made as a result of contact (in person, via email, telephone or fax) with the U.S. client in the United States, were subject to the Form 1099 reporting requirements or twenty-eight percent withholding. These transactions are referred to under the Q.I. Program as "deemed sales." (R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney, et al., "Statement of Facts", US vs Bradley Birkenfeld, case 08-CR-50099-ZLOCH, US District Court, Southern District of Florida, June 6, 2008; Reeves Exh. 7).
This contrasts with the - not so accidential - QIA gibberish, which follows:
Sec. 6.04. Legal Prohibitions Against Disclosure of U.S. Non-Exempt Recipients.
(A) Accounts Established Prior to January 1, 2001. If QI knows an account holder is a U.S. non-exempt recipient and the account holder’s account was established with QI prior to January 1, 2001 (a pre-2001 account), QI agrees to the following procedures:
(1) If QI is prohibited by law, including by contract, from disclosing to a withholding agent or to the IRS on Form 1099 the account holder’s name, address, and TIN, for reportable payments paid to the account holder, then QI must–
(i) Request from the account holder the authority to make such a disclosure;
(ii) Request from the account holder the authority to sell any assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments; or
(iii) Request that the account holder disclose himself by mandating QI to provide a Form W-9 completed by the account holder.
(2) QI must make the requests described in section 6.04(A)(1) at least two times during each calendar year and in a manner consistent with QI’s normal communications with the account holder (e.g., by mail, telephone, etc.). If QI is not authorized to initiate communications with the account holder (e.g., QI can only communicate with the account holder in person), QI must make the request at the time and in the manner that QI is authorized to communicate with the account holder.
(3) Until QI receives a waiver of all prohibitions against disclosure or authorization to sell all assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments, or a mandate from the account holder to provide a Form W-9, QI shall backup withhold on all reportable payments paid to the account holder and report those payments on Form 1099 or, in the case of reportable amounts and designated proceeds, provide another withholding agent with all the information required for that withholding agent to backup withhold and report the payments on Form 1099. If the account holder disposes of any assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments prior to providing QI with a waiver of all prohibitions against disclosure or authorization to sell all such assets, QI shall apply backup withholding and Form 1099 reporting in accordance with sections 3 and 8 of this Agreement.
(4) If QI has not assumed primary Form 1099 reporting and backup withholding responsibility but is authorized, or is mandated, to disclose the account holder’s name, address, TIN and reportable amounts (and, designated broker proceeds if section 3.05(C)
of this Agreement applies) to a withholding agent, QI must provide the account holder’s Form W-9 (or, if a Form W-9 was not obtained, the account holder’s name, address, and TIN, if available) to the withholding agent together with appropriate withholding rate pool information within 30 days of the date QI receives such authorization.
(5) If QI is authorized to dispose of the account holder’s assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments, QI must sell or exchange all such assets within 60 days of receiving authorization. In addition, if QI later discovers that an account contains such assets, QI must sell such assets within 60 days of the discovery. See sections 3 and 8 of this Agreement for backup withholding and Form 1099 reporting responsibilities.
(6) If QI is not authorized to disclose the account holder’s identity or to sell or exchange all of the account holder’s assets that generate or could generate reportable payments, but QI is not prohibited by law, including by contract, from disposing of the account holder’s assets even though it has not obtained specific authorization, QI must sell or exchange all such assets on or before December 31, 2002, and apply backup withholding and Form 1099 reporting in accordance with sections 3 and 8 of this Agreement.
(B) Account Holder Discovered to be U.S. Non-Exempt Recipient. If QI’s records indicate that the account holder of a pre-2001 account is a foreign person and the QI discovers that the account holder is a U.S. non-exempt recipient, QI shall follow the procedures of section 6.04(A) of this Agreement, except that if QI may legally sell or exchange the account holder’s assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments without authorization, QI must sell or exchange all such assets on or before the date that is 365 days after QI learns that the account holder is a U.S. non-exempt recipient, or, if later, December 31, 2002.
2.    Under what conditions - after January 1, 2001 - can I open an account with a QI?
a)    QI must be able and willing to deal with me.
b)    QI must sucessfully have performed due diligence examinations on my background (beneficial ownership and know your customer rules), in accordance with national laws and QIA: However, in another of its bewildering technical guidelines (Notice 2001-4, Part III, Administrative, Procedural and Miscellaneous), the IRS pointed out:
«Use of the term ‹know your customer› in the QI context should not be confused with the use of that term in other contexts, specifically including the use of the term in the area of international standards relating to money laundering control. As used in the QI context, the term ‹know your customer› generally relates to the capacity of financial institutions to determine whether their customers are U.S. persons and, if their customers are non-U.S. persons claiming the benefits of an income tax treaty, whether these customers are residents of the applicable treaty country.
… Although the meaning of the term ‹know your customer› in the QI context is often closely related to the meaning of the term in the broader context of money laundering control, the concepts are nevertheless distinct and should not be regarded as having the same meaning or scope.»
(reproduced from Urs Behnisch, Amtshilfe der Schweiz in Steuer(straf)sachen, insbesondere an die USA: Durcheinandertal, ASA 11/12, 2009, giving its web address as: www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-01-04.pdf  which, however, is no longer accessible; see also IRS KYC Notice 2006-35, accessed 25.12.11).
The QIA makes no such explicit distinction; its focus has been on expanding the IRS' world-wide reach below the radar of sovereignty-conscious observers. as such it offers room for interpretation - and abuse:
Sec. 5.01. Documentation Requirements. QI shall apply the presumption rules to any account holder that receives a reportable amount or reportable payment unless QI can reliably associate the payment with valid documentation from the account holder. QI agrees to use its best efforts to obtain documentation from account holders. If QI is obtaining documentary evidence, QI also agrees to adhere to the know-your-customer rules that apply to QI with respect to the account holder from whom the documentary evidence is obtained. As set forth in section 11.04(F) of this Agreement, failure to obtain documentation from a significant number of direct account holders constitutes an event of default. QI agrees to review and maintain documentation in accordance with this section 5 and, in the case of documentary evidence obtained from direct account holders, in accordance with the know-your-customer rules set forth in the Attachments to this Agreement. QI also agrees to make documentation (together with any associated withholding statements and other documents or information) available upon request for inspection by QI’s external auditor. QI represents that none of the laws to which it is subject prohibits disclosure of the identity of any account holder (including account holders subject to the provisions of section 6.04 of this Agreement) or account information to QI’s external auditor. QI may rely on the documentation it obtains under this section 5 as the basis for the information it provides another withholding agent under section 6 of this Agreement, as well as to determine its own withholding and reporting obligations.  ...
Sec. 5.13. Application of Presumption Rules.
(A) In General. QI shall apply the presumption rules of section 5.13(C) of this Agreement if QI cannot reliably associate a payment with valid documentation from an account holder other than a nonqualified intermediary or a flow-through entity. The presumption rules cannot be used to grant a reduced rate of withholding. For example, the portfolio interest exception of sections 871(h) and 881(c) of the Code shall not apply to a person that is presumed to be foreign. Further, QI must apply the presumption rules when required and may not rely on its actual knowledge regarding an account holder’s status as a U.S. or foreign person. For example, if the account holder is presumed to be a U.S. non-exempt recipient, QI must treat the account holder as subject to 31% backup withholding on a reportable payment even though QI actually knows that the account holder is a foreign person. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, QI must rely on its actual knowledge regarding an account holder rather than what is presumed under section 5.13(C) of this Agreement if, based on such knowledge, it should withhold an amount greater than the withholding rate under the presumption rules or it should report on Form 1042-S or Form 1099 an amount that would otherwise not be reported. Thus, if an account holder is presumed to be a foreign person with respect to an amount subject to withholding, QI must treat the account holder as subject to 30 percent withholding and report the payment on Form 1042-S unless QI has actual knowledge that the account holder is a U.S. non-exempt recipient, in which case it must withhold 31 percent from the gross amount of the payment and report the payment on Form 1099. Failure to follow the presumption rules may result in liability for underwithholding, penalties, and interest. ...
(C) Presumption Rules. The presumption rules are as follows:
(1) Payments Made Outside the United States to an Offshore Account of Amounts Subject to NRA Withholding. An amount that is subject to NRA withholding that is paid outside the United States to an account that is maintained outside the United States is presumed made to an undocumented foreign account holder. Therefore, QI must treat the amount as subject to withholding at a rate of 30 percent on the gross amount paid and report the payment to an unknown account holder on Form 1042-S.
(2) Payments of Deposit Interest and OID on Short-Term Obligations. An amount of U.S. source deposit interest (other than an amount that is part of the purchase price of a certificate of deposit sold in a transaction other than a redemption) or an amount of U.S. source interest or original issue discount on the redemption of a short-term obligation that is paid outside the United States to an offshore account is presumed made to an undocumented U.S. non-exempt recipient account holder. QI must backup withhold at 31 percent and report such amounts on Form 1099 unless it has provided sufficient information for another payor from which it receives such amounts to backup withhold and report the payments and QI does not know that the other payor has failed to backup withhold or report.
(3) Foreign Source Income, Broker Proceeds, and Certain Other Amounts. QI shall presume that the following payments are made to an exempt recipient provided that such amounts are paid outside the United States to an account maintained outside the United States:
(i) Foreign source income;
(ii) Broker proceeds;
(iii) Original issue discount paid in a sale other than a redemption;
(iv) Interest paid as part of the purchase price of an obligation when the instrument is sold between interest payment dates;
(v) Amounts held on deposit with banks or other financial institutions for two weeks or less;
(vi) Amounts of original issue discount arising from a sale and repurchase transaction that is completed within two weeks or less; or
(vii) Amounts described in Treas. Reg. §§1.6049-5(b)(7), (10), and (11).
Such amounts are not subject to withholding or reporting.
(4) Other Payments. Any payment not covered in sections 5.13(C)(1), (2) or (3) of this Agreement shall be presumed made to a U.S. non-exempt recipient and therefore shall be subject to Form 1099 reporting and to backup withholding. Backup withholding shall not be required, however, if the exception provided in Treas. Reg. §31.3406(g)-1(e) applies. For example, any reportable payment paid inside the United States or paid to a U.S. account is presumed made to a U.S. non-exempt recipient and shall be subject to backup withholding and reporting on Form 1099 as paid to an unknown owner.
3.    Under what conditions can I use my QI account for washing the fruits of my labors by way of investing in US securities?
a)    QI subject to national secrecy laws and contractual privacy obligations must have requested my consent to either disclose my identity to the IRS - a non-starter - or not to use my account for investing in US or other securities triggering QIA obligations. The penalty for my eventual non-disclosure as non-compliance with this pro-forma limitation on the use of my QI account - originally 31%, now due to competition 28% of the cleaned stuff, which in the old days was about the going protection money rate - is thus described as follows:
Sec. 6.04. (C) Accounts Opened on or After January 1, 2001. QI agrees to the following procedures for accounts opened by U.S. non-exempt recipients on or after January 1, 2001 (post-2000 accounts):
(1) If QI is prohibited by law, including by contract, from disclosing to a withholding agent or to the IRS on Form 1099 the account holder’s name, address, and TIN, for reportable payments paid to the account holder, then QI must–
(i) Request from the account holder the authority to make such a disclosure;
(ii) Request from the account holder, prior to opening the account, the authority to exclude from the account holder’s account any assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments; or
(iii) Request that the account holder disclose himself by mandating QI to transfer a Form W-9 completed by the account holder.
(2) If QI is authorized to disclose the account holder’s name, address, TIN (if available) and reportable amounts (and designated broker proceeds, if section 3.05(C) of this Agreement applies), QI must obtain a valid Form W-9 from the account holder and, to the extent QI does not have primary Form 1099 and backup withholding responsibility, provide the Form W-9 to the appropriate withholding agent promptly after obtaining the Form W-9. If a Form W-9 is not obtained, then QI must provide the account holder’s name, address, and TIN, if any, to the withholding agents from whom QI receives reportable amounts (and, if applicable, designated broker proceeds) on behalf of the account holder together with appropriate withholding rate pool information relating to the account holder. To the extent QI has assumed primary Form 1099 reporting and backup withholding, it must backup withhold on all reportable payments until it receives a valid Form W-9.
(3) If QI is not authorized to disclose an account holder’s name and other required information but is authorized to exclude from the account holder’s account any assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments, QI must follow procedures designed to ensure that it will not hold any assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments in the account holder’s account.
(4) If QI is authorized to exclude from the account holder’s account any assets that generate, or could generate, reportable payments and QI discovers that the account contains such assets, QI must sell such assets within 60 days of discovering such assets and apply backup withholding and Form 1099 reporting in accordance with sections 3 and 8 of this Agreement.
(5) QI agrees that if any account holder in a post-2000 account is discovered, after the opening of the account, to be a U.S. non-exempt recipient then QI will–
(i) Immediately correct the withholding statement information provided to the withholding agent, if necessary, and
(ii) Either obtain a Form W-9 within 60 days of discovering that the account holder is a U.S. non-exempt recipient, and, if QI has not assumed primary Form 1099 reporting and backup withholding responsibility, provide the Form W-9 to the appropriate withholding agents together with appropriate withholding pool information promptly after obtaining the Form W-9 or, if QI is not authorized to disclose account holder information, sell all of the account holder’s assets that generate or could generate reportable payments within 60 calendar days from the day that QI discovers the account holder is a U.S. non-exempt recipient. QI must backup withhold, or instruct a withholding agent to backup withhold on any reportable payments made after the time QI discovers the account holder’s U.S. nonexempt recipient status and before obtaining a valid Form W-9 from the account holder.
b)    Obviously not for nothing, the fog of the QIA is exceptionally thick. Its language is deliberately detailed which - on the surface - conveys the impression of a comprehensive statement on the QIs' obligations focussed on and directed to avoid misuse of tax treaties. Another description could be: an elaborate set of well camouflaged loopholes for entrepreneurs like myself. To be sure, the QIA is characterised by an irritating, if not overwhelming use of unusual and specific technical terms, unhelpful cross-references to external sources, and close-circuit definitions. It is also punctuated with very long and confusing sentences. All of which suggest an ulterior, a hidden agenda particularly with regard to white money freaks and other faint hearts, hypocrites and blue-eyeds. Perhaps most revealing is its 128 times use of the key term backup withholding. Accordingly, its definition is still more fogging than clarifying:
Sec. 2.05. Backup Withholding. “Backup withholding” means the withholding required under section 3406 of the Code.
As is the other key term beneficial owner:
Sec. 2.06. Beneficial Owner. A “beneficial owner” has the meaning given to that term in Treas. Reg. §1.1441-1(c)(6).
All of which, of course, suits me just fine. For among the some 7000 QIs worldwide (of which, in 2008, 5,660 were active, according to congressional testimony by the IRS Commissioner), I am thus offered a very appealing choice of QIs in the most convenient places nearby or afar with which to do good, ie mutually profitable business. The hidden loopholes available in the QI system - e.g. the possibility to freely buy and sell US and other securities through my QI account if I'm willing to pay the above "backup" penalty and my banker, at a fee, is willing to play along - can be found notably in the following QIA sections:
Sec. 2.43. Reportable Amount. A "reportable amount" means an amount subject to NRA [nonresident alien] withholding (as defined in section 2.03 of this Agreement); U.S. source deposit interest (as defined in section 2.10 of this Agreement); and U.S. source interest or original issue discount paid on the redemption of short-term obligations (as defined in section 2.46 of this Agreement). The term does not include payments on deposits with banks and other financial institutions that remain on deposit for two weeks or less. It also does not include amounts of original issue discount arising from a sale and repurchase transaction completed within a period of two weeks or less, or amounts described in Treas. Reg. §1.6049-5(b)(7), (10), or (11) (relating to certain foreign targeted registered obligations and certain obligations issued in bearer form).
Sec. 2.44. Reportable Payment. For purposes of this Agreement, a reportable payment means amounts described in section 2.44(A) of this Agreement, in the case of a U.S. payor, and amounts described in section 2.44(B) of this Agreement, in the case of a non-U.S. payor.
(A) U.S. Payor. If QI is a U.S. payor, a reportable payment means any reportable payment as defined in section 3406(b) of the Code, including any broker proceeds from the sale of assets beneficially owned by a U.S. non-exempt recipient account holder that produce, or could produce, reportable payments if the identity and account information of that account holder is prohibited by law, including by contract, from disclosure as described in section 6.04 of this Agreement. For this purpose, it is irrelevant whether the sale is effected by QI or QI instructs another person to effect the sale. It is also irrelevant whether the sale is effected at an office inside or outside the United States. Thus, the exception in Treas. Reg. §1.6045-1(a) (which excepts sales effected at an office outside the United States by a non-U.S. payor) and the exception in Treas. Reg. 31.3406(g)-1(e) (which excepts certain payments made outside the United States from backup withholding) do not apply in the case of an account holder whose identity is prohibited by law from disclosure. ...
Sec. 3.04. Backup Withholding Responsibility. QI is a payor under section 3406 of the Code with respect to reportable payments. Under section 3406, a payor is required to deduct and withhold 31 percent from the payment of a reportable payment to a U.S. nonexempt recipient if the U.S. non-exempt recipient has not provided its TIN in the manner required under that section; the IRS notifies the payor that the TIN furnished by the payee is incorrect; there has been a notified payee under-reporting described in section 3406(c); or there has been a payee certification failure described in section 3406(d). QI represents that there are no legal restrictions that prohibit it from complying with the Form 1099 reporting requirements of this Agreement or imposing backup withholding and depositing the amounts withheld in accordance with section 3.08 of this Agreement.
c)    To be sure, I thus need not declare the real, the money laundering purpose of my QI account, but I must not give the game away either by wanting, or giving to QI the impression that I'm in for mere tax avoidance. For the latter, of course, is the hunting ground of the OECD since 1977. But it is now also explicitly precluded by the QIA in the following terms:
Sec. 2.03. Amounts Subject to NRA Withholding. An “amount subject to NRA withholding” is an amount described in Treas. Reg. §1.1441-2(a). An amount subject to NRA withholding shall not include interest paid as part of the purchase price of an obligation sold between interest payment dates or original issue discount paid as part of the purchase price of an obligation sold in a transaction other than the redemption of such obligation, unless the sale is part of a plan the principal purpose of which is to avoid tax and QI has actual knowledge or reason to know of such plan.
4.    Should Swiss QIs be on my radar?
    Not if I need a reliable comrade-in-arms for bringing parallel-market funds back into the protected arena. For the IRS people who cooked up the QI system, the big two Swiss banks were an indispensable godsend both in the editing and the subsequent world-wide marketing phase. But they got too close to the fire and showed themselves incapable of handling their uneven partnership with the IRS - at least not without harm to their clients and to themselves.
    Which reminds me of the controversial Swiss ratification of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1977. That Swiss quality sign was again very useful and indeed crucial for the US diplomacy to push this modern Versailles Treaty down the throat of unwilling customers. But in that highly instructive, yet largely ignored case, Switzerland's tough negotiators extracted some extraordinarily valuable economic and political concessions from their American partners in return for Switzerland's belate but very cherished NPT ratification. The same cannot be said about Switzerland's handlung of its tax spate with the USA. To begin with, it let UBS and Credit Suisse (CS) infringe on its domain, even lowered the guard when its finance minister - reportedly at "knife-point" - set his signature on the dotted line of a dubious, for extra-legal exemption to the penal code's prohibition of assistance to foreign authorities (art. 271), thus allowing Swiss bankers to turn themselves into QIs - aka IRS agents, or intermediaries, if you prefer.
    Moreover, UBS and CS were thus hoodwinked into a deal which proved disastrous in the end. To be sure, UBS' successful secretarial role in the world banking community's frantic labors to overcome the year 2000 Y2K bug made it the ideal midwife and initial partner for introducing the QI system world-wide. But a few years into the operation, the concession, dubbed "Swiss solution", UBS believed to have been granted by the IRS - i.e. the "right" to hide US persons subject to US taxation behind a smoke-screen of specially created off-shore companies (see below: 5 and D) - turned out to be a fata morgana.  In summary, the persistently servile attitude of most current-generation Swiss QIs and non-QI bankers vis-à-vis routinely hardball-playing American office holders makes them unfit for client services which are increasingly in demand world-wide. Which, of course, is not to say that all Swiss bankers have lost track of where they come from, and of what they have inherited from their pioneering predecessors. Or that all of them fail to recognise the corresponding special responsibilities and opportunities.

5.    What - until recently - has made Swiss QIs attractive for worried citizens and US tax dodgers but counter-indicated for kingpins?
    Let's first clear up some basic misunderstandings sine ira et studio: Not unlike other powerful national and international organisations - which, though, became powerful by-default of most business leaders and false banner-bearers here and there -, the IRS is not the "enemy" of the kingpins, but of the ordinary taxpayer. The reason is simple: kingpins are willing buyers of governmental favors and protection against foreign competitors. They are also big-time casino players with huge - i.e. in the hundreds of billion dollar park - uncontrolled payoffs to the power holders' crocodile funds by way of such effectively camouflaged vehicles as the IRS' QI system. In contrast to that, individual taxpayers are mostly chicken feed contributors. And though they also produce huge aggregate revenues, these funds are democratically controlled, and thus of lesser interest to the powers that be, except for the related legal and administrative instruments' pursuasion and hassle value vis-à-vis unruly or contesting citizens in particular.
    Against this backdrop of ever more powerful national authorities, citizens everywhere have been and - more than ever before - will continue to feel in need of actively protecting against being robbed by the state, be it in hidden (e.g. by way of fiat money-induced inflation) or open ways (e.g. by way of confiscatory taxation, helped by bilateral and multilateral tax data exchanges, like OECD's INTERFIPOL, Swiss-American fiscal "administrative" assistance requests doing away with time-tested principles, such as suspicion of wrong-doing punished in both states, individual identification, etc). Switzerland's political setup and the ensuing long-term stability, its unique system of direct participatory democracy, and its deeply moored system of disciplined sovereign citizens served by a low-state quote administration have - over generations and until resent setbacks - made it into the stability pole of excellence, privacy and security the world's citizens have come to know and appreciate (don't get me wrong: to no small degree, Switzerland's astounding success stories have been helped notably by two things:  1. its near-perfection of mediocricy, and  2. its time-tested anti-cyclical and anti-depression complementary currency, the WIR franc). So successful in fact that a few decades ago, some envious powerful external forces decided to cut Swiss banks' dominant wealth management role back to size.
    To be sure, internal forces unwittingly opened the doors to corresponding developments and foreign attacks (see below: B). And though underpinned with very private motives, Edgar Bronfman almost single-handedly came close to achieving that objective with the help of the dormant accounts accusations. Next came the fusion of Switzerland's two banking behemoths SBV and SBG who set thus themselves nilly-willy on a global expansion course with multiple risks at multiple fronts.
    With the club of individual foreign taxpayers seeking a Swiss nest-egg growing, the effects of fiat money brought commensurate pressure on foreign taxmen to barricade, if not to close this escape route into Switzerland by almost any means, inluding encouraging Swiss bank employees to monetise their confidential information. All of which contributed to an athmosphere of excessive customer constraints and market-inhibiting compliance mentality which all but favored the maintenance and defence of time-tested and successful principles and sound banking practices. By now it has become apparent that in the course of finalising the IRS' model QIA, ill-advised - and perhaps purposely mislead, but by all means myopic, ROI-fixed, profit-hungry and blue-eyed - UBS and CS representatives let themselves be drawn over the table with insufficiently secured concessions for their current and future US tax-dodging clients. What was to be called the "Swiss solution" IRS negotiators reportedly agreed to - whether within or beyond their mandate is neither clear nor relevant - found in the following way expression in the internal UBS memorandum dated July 4, 2000:

"... Certain other structures are not caught by these [QIA] rules, and there is no need for the settlor/beneficiaries/individual owner to disclose themselves to the IRS, even though they are US persons. These structures are:
-    Offshore companies, with limited liability, which have not elected to be 'flow.through' entities;
-    Grantor: simple and complex trusts with underlying companies, holding the assets;
-    Complex trusts;
-    Foundations treated as complex trusts;
-    Certain insurance products in which a non-US insurance company holds the assets underlying a deferred variable annuity policy or a life insurance policy.
We recommend the following FPWM policies for US persons in categories 1-6 above.
I    Change of Investments
Where the client agrees, direct investments in US securities should be sold and replaced with investments on the approved list shown on the Private Web. These include UBS investment funds and certain derivative products.
I     Change of structure
Where the client/settlor/beneficiaries wish to retain direct investments in US securities, this can be achieved by placing an underlying company beneath the trust/foundation.
This is a relatively minor structural change, which could be made without upsetting the IRS, if done prior to 2001.
The conversion of a simple or grantor trust/foundation into a complex trust by changing the trust/foundation deeds is not recommended by Baker & McKenzie, as the advantages of the original structures can be destroyed. ..."
Memo addressed to the Business Committee, Private Banking, by René Sonneveld and Jonathan Bourne (Financial Planning & Wealth Management) (Reeves Exh. 8)
    Under the chairmanship of Carl Levin, the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations held hearings on July 17, 2008 to receive testimony also from senior UBS managers Martin Liechti and Mark Branson.In its staff report "TAX HAVEN BANKS AND U.S. TAX COMPLIANCE" of the same date, the "Swiss solution" QI loophole is recognised. Some QIs - whether by design, collusion or neglect - were left in a position to advise "clients on how to structure their investments to avoid disclosure to the IRS under the QI Program" (p.4/5). The report thus acknowledges that UBS' "actions, while not per se violations of the QI Program, were aimed at circumventing its intended purpose of increasing disclosure of U.S. client accounts, and led to the formation of offshore structures and undeclared accounts that could facilitate, and have resulted in, tax evasion by U.S. clients" (p.11). Its recommendations include: "The IRS should also close the “QI-KYC Gap” by expressly requiring QI participants to apply to their QI reporting obligations all information obtained through their know-your-customer procedures to identify the beneficial owners of accounts" (p.16).
    Contrary appearances and even guilty pleas not withstanding, additional information, indications and research confirm the overall impression that successive generations of US-oriented managers and false flag carriers at UBS and CS have gone to great length in respecting what they understood to be US laws. With their own background and sense for proportionality, they have never really grasped the true and full meaning of the 31% backup withholding tax on sales proceeds - always confounding it with the 30% witholding on dividend payments, etc. Only the Swiss banking surveillance authority FINMA, in its report of January 18, 2009, made the distinction between ordinary income and the new confiscatory backup withholding tax - mechanically and very much low key, so much in fact that the subsequent parliamentary surveillance commissions fell also victim to this by completely overlooking this key difference when they referred to said FINMA report for describing the QIA. In fact the at least ill-advised Swiss parliamentary watchdog commissions built their case on the UBS misadventure essentially on the manifestly false, myopic and one-eyed tell-tale assumption that the QIA obliges QIs to withhold and pay to the IRS "31 percent on US securities' dividend and interest payments." They thus also completely missed out on the QI system's hidden but - revenue-wise - main purpose of confiscating rather then merely taxing assets. For the 31% concerns - importantly but exclusively - the backup withholding tax on the proceed of sales of US and other taxable securities (GPK report on UBS, 10.054, of May 30, 2010, p. 3243, 3249; see below: E). True, UBS has formally admitted to have "failed to withhold the appropriate tax when required to do so" (Raoul Weil indictment of 11/6/08, Reeves Exh.28 at 33). But was it also not "backup withholding" - was it even aware of the illegality of that tax? And how much did the IRS in fact rake in under this heading since the QI system went operational? Nobody at either UBS or the IRS is willing to talk about that, the latter being rather nervous about the issue, with even the US congressional watchdog, the Government Accounting Office, being reluctant if not unwilling to do its due diligence and get the IRS to caugh up the figures (see below: F).
Thus knowing no better because, under pressure from IRS and Baker & McKenzie, the soon-to-be Swiss QI handymen had early on discarded all alarm signs. As interested parties, they at least wanted to believe in the validity, even superiority of the special QI norms when in conflict with other general US norms, like SEC registration rules for bank advisers. Moreover, their IRS handlers had made them aware of their priviledged QI situation. And their original IRS QI partners could hardly have been unaware of the various built-in loopholes which called for imaginative interpretations and applications, including ways to circumvent border controls and surveillance by competing law enforcement authorities. For, after all, the QIA itself imposes on QIs communication obligations with existing and prospective account holders on how best, under the given circumstances, he may respect what was "sold" to him as valid US law. Or, evidence suggests that the QI model agreement - entailing with the backup withholding tax a new tax - never passed muster in the US Congress as the US Constitution provides for, and as the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA": 5 U.S.C. § 702) never was applied, as required by law. This sheds a new light not only on the past and current IRS administrative assistance requests - and how not to answer them -, but also on actors involved and their professionalism.
    But all that has had an almost exclusive focus on taxpayers. The essentially hidden but revenue-wise more important QI mechanisms for bringing parallel-market funds back into the open circuit has thus not received its due attention. Being for decades now under a general onslaught from foreign competing forces, Swiss bankers - for the reasons outlined above - have decided to best concentrate on tax matters but failed to grasp that sitting on their reputation, and in the event bending aver backwards is no longer - if it has ever been - a sucess formula. To their endless regret, they have, of course, saved a few stamps on lobbying fees, while in fact miserably failing their core mission, e.g. by not fighting the anti-freedom, anti-sovereignty and anti-market mandate for "combating tax avoidance" which the OECD Fiscal Committee surreptitiously arrogated in 1977(Res.C(77)149(Final)). Kingpins and other people with highly developed sensors for proportionality, vision and opportunism have not felt comfortable with such small-minded casino chip movers. As the saying goes: Small fish swimming in big waters doesn't make them bigger.

6.    What future worth talking about do Swiss bankers still have?
     From my client perspective, most have indeed missed or are about to miss the boat. For all too many have shown a willingness not to stand up for principles which made their predecessors successful. Instead, many have thrown in the towel and even betrayed sacred fiduciary and other duties vis-à-vis their own customers in the vain hope of a Befreiungsschlag, a lastingly liberating manœuvre. Just look at the undignified, unconscionable and on the chosen path seemingly inevitable cave-ins to made-easy blackmails from rampaging out-of-control US office holders by UBS, CS and other ill-advised and ill-prepared "realists". That's a long distance away from the attitude displayed by Jacques Darier, the exemplary Swiss banker whose obituary appeared not for nothing on the front page of the Financial Times and even in the Los Angeles Times on October 23, 2011. It said a.o. "He was well known in the industry at a time when banking secrecy laws were a main reason that clients chose to deposit their money in Switzerland. According to one story, Darier went so far as to swallow a piece of paper listing phone numbers of his customers to protect them from the prying eyes of police."
    Typically for some Swiss bankers of today, they are unwilling to respect, stand up for and, if necessary, defend time-tested traditions and practices. They are driven by ill-considered incentives and unmoored objectives. And they refuse to recognise that "There ain't no financial perpetual motion machines either, only disguised rip-off, churning & Ponzi schemes". As such, these high-rolling, yet immensely damaging and routinely free-loading apprentice-sorcerers-turned-white money Pharisiees have managed to push even the Swiss judicial and political authorities to sell out on fundamental principles and to venture onto thin ice and no-future slippery territory. But that, fortunately, is by far not the whole story.
As evidenced in the Swiss Parliament - e contrario: the Upper House which has not been quite itself when it caved in to foreign pressure brought to bear directly by a "Senior Advisor" of Credit Suisse (see below: G & H) - and particularly in Switzerland's private banking sector, there are still some deep-draught Swiss bankers and politicians worth their salt and which steadfastly and against great odds work on the task of eventually redressing the situation and outlook. Conscious of, and strictly adhering to the Swiss Constitution's maxim that "only those who use their freedom remain free", they haven't acquiesced either to the QIA's sovereignty-sensitive steam-rolling of Swiss law. This is the more so as the validity in US law of the whole QI system could and should be examined by a US Court - as in fact it was about to be when, in 2000, a Baker & McKenzie representative relayed IRS concerns and threats, thus causing the Swiss plaintiffs-to-be to get cold feet. As the never approved QIA thus illegally introduced the backup withholding tax. And - on a private channel behind the back of Switzerland's constitutional lawmaker - as it seeks to arrogate, and pretends as valid, unilateral and other rights in favor of the IRS which are not in harmony with existing Swiss-US treaties. Example:

Sec. 12.02. This Agreement may be amended by the IRS if the IRS determines that such amendment is needed for the sound administration of the internal revenue laws or internal revenue regulations. The agreement may also be modified by either QI or the IRS upon mutual agreement. Such amendments or modifications shall be in writing. ...
Sec. 12.04. This Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the United States. Any legal action brought under this Agreement shall be brought only in a United States court with jurisdiction to hear and resolve matters under the internal revenue laws of the United States. For this purpose, QI agrees to submit to the jurisdiction of such United States court.
7.    What if the IRS is deprived of QIs and lost control over this global money laundering machine?
    As happened already, competition drives down prices (from originally 31 to currently 28% of assets). Various central banks, international organizations and other global players have neither qualms nor problems to turn their part of the annually some $2 trillion parallel-market funds into freely and readily investable resources, thus helping to keep the world economy on keel (Joe Wolverton, Drug Money Props Up Banks During Recession, New American, 10 Sep 10). The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is currently preparing a report on the global parallel-market and looks into the options for channelling these huge funds back into the "normal" economy. So far, the IRS enjoyed a quasi global monopoly in this field, raking in some $500 billion/y, according to estimates debated at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime in 2008, 2010 and 2011 - so we ain't talking peanuts. The IMF efforts in particular may help refocus attention and resources on more relevant things than harrassing citizens with ill-considered prohibitionist excesses and counterproductive constraints. Moreover, it may help to free us all again from the economically, socially and politically paralysing society-permeating compliance mentality.
    In this sense - much like ordinary bank clients - I wouldn't have to worry if significantly more QIs were finally to bolt the system and, perhaps, thus even contributed to crash and forestall such other anti-freedom, anti-sovereignty and anti-market systems as the unconscionable FATCA project. That may happen due to better insights by the QIs on their own. Or it may be forced on them by national political forces who never acquiesced to the idea that trustees should be willing to betray their clients and turn themselves into agents of foreign taxmen. In the case of Switzerland, the QIA unwittingly offers a handle for these political forces. For the special permission the finance minister granted in 2000 under article 271 of the penal code may be withdrawn shortly. And in light of the QIA's above section 3.04, that would toll the end of Swiss banks to serve as ill-treated QIs.
    Moreover, that in turn might induce our American friends - more than anything else - to stop biting the hands that feed them. To stop bullying and undercutting those who have been able and willing to re-channel foreign investments into their increasingly shaky economy. And to scrap at once both their manifestly unfounded and hypocritical hardball games, and their ill-advised requests for unnamed and thus treaty-contrarian requests for administrative assistance. Furthermore, they may in time draw the proper conclusions from Switzerland's past sovereign rejections of other US office holders' unfriendly acts, treaty manipulations and unwarranted extradition requests, as was the case with Marc Rich and Roman Polanski. A more mutually beneficial era might thus be brought about if both US and Swiss authorities - instead of wasting scarce resources on mutually harmful power games - were to help each other and generally lend a hand in the analysis and redressing of situations threatening to run out of control, like Mideastern conflicts and the world's monetary imbalances. For the US, with its over-exposed and essentially uncovered fiat lead currency, it would be hypocritical and self-damaging to push Switzerland onto an unrealistic and untested "white money strategy" which, for a limited time, might favor some big banks while already now, eight Geneva banks are for sale with no takers. And for the banks themselves, it would be illusory to stem the bureaucratic tide by essentialy repeating their QI errors in relation to EU countries by way of an equally aberrant system called Rubik - in as much as Swiss law and interests have always stood in the way of complying with such one-sided, costly and harmful regulations (Interpellation 11.4123).

Post scriptum:
A Disclosure: Not unlike Gulbenkian in his days, I'm a sovereign citizen working for the common good on many fronts. As a co-owner of Iraqi oil fields and nuclear energy patents, I have oil and uranium, but no blood on my hands. Yet, if I am to play my cards intellingently, I cannot avoid to run afoul of some small Saddam's self-serving laws. Like in the vaning days of the Soviet Union when, as pointed out by the late Otto Graf Lambsdorff, entrepreneurs couldnt legally avoid being tax dodgers, as "revenues [were] formally taxed in excess of 100%". The above $100mio - let's say for securing an option on the Kirkuk field - can thus easily be denounced as corruption money, even though my political opponents are aware of the deal's legal basis, and they know it to be chicken feed compared to my total net worth. Moreover, as a politically exposed person (PEP) I constitute reputation risks for worried bankers. I must thus look for a network with strong, influential and reliable partners and contacts, including an insurance policy for hickups. If all that makes me a kingpin, then be it. And if I can secure that kind of counterveiling forces from US authorities by way of the IRS QI system - i.e. by volontarily paying the IRS' 28% backup withholding tax as protection money - who could be against that, and on what grounds? Certainly not because of a messianic but ll-considered and impractical white money policy which - in a growing sea of mixed grey and black uncovered fiat money - makes adepts the world's laughing stocks while entailing a self-inflicted loss of seriosity, credibility and economic and political acumen and strength!

B    The fiat money bubble unleashed by Nixon’s closing of the gold window in 1971 brought an oversupply of casino chips. Another havoc-creating factor may yet be discovered by current and future Nobel prize winners. For some ten years later, the Swiss Government liberalized pension fund investments – with devastating copycat results on the global market  (www.solami.com/caisses.htm#unleashed).
Pension fund managers everywhere thus found themselves encouraged to look for the-sky-is-the-limit "market-level returns" rather than low-risk family-father investments. For a company’s bigger size as a measure for greater security. And to place their eggs in unfathomably sophisticated derivatives & "securization" casinos. What’s more, a few days after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Swiss Government heeded the banking lobby’s calls for allowing pension funds to invest even more in high-risk categories (derivatives, etc).
Some lawmakers then called for remedial measures in the opposite direction (.../parlament.htm#Bretton). Eg investment standards which respect time-tested principles, organic limits and Calvin's famous trade-off to be strictly observed (ie lifting the prohibition of taking interest but enforcing a ban on usuric interest rates – ie above 5%). Recognizing the globally devastating effects of the un-mooring of our money and a joint effort to return to some universally acceptable real value currencies may help bring us back from the abyss (.../outofthebox.htm). The ill effects of fiat money can no longer be hidden by accounting gimmicks (like non-publication of M3 figures by the FED since 2006: .../M3.htm). We must find the way back to serve the real citizens and the real economy - instead of accommodating apprentice-sorcerers, greed gurus etc who recklessly pursue the illusion of financial perpetuum mobiles.
Insofar I concur with Paul Krugman’s analysis (Losing Their Immunity, NYT 10/16/11). And based on further insights (.../capitalism.html, .../porkbellies.htm), I agree with Robert Stewart’s conclusion: «The game is up. … Governments, Central and Commercial Banks, and all need to be recast and run by higher motivated and more qualified individuals who are public managers, not individual fortune seekers.» (.../iconoc.htm#Soros)

C    aus einem UBS-internen email vom 2.Mai 2001:
"Ich habe heute an einer Tagung u.a. den QI-Spezialisten von Baker & McKenzie getroffen. Marnin Michaels ist Amerikaner, operiert hier aus Zürich heraus und hilft Banken, den QI-Setup aufzusetzen.
Gemäss Michaels hat die IRS vor rund drei Wochen hier in der Schweiz eine Undercover-Aktion mit dem Ziel gestartet, die QI-Prozedere der Schweizbanken im Falle von US-Staatsbürger in einem Feldversuch 1:1 zu testen. Dabei ging es offenbar insbesondere auch um solche Problemstellungen, ob der Berater auch nichtdeklarierte Fonds von Amerikanern entgegennimmt, ober er Ratschläge zur Umgehung der QI-Problematik erteilt und wie er generell auf QI-Probleme reagiert.
Die IRS-Leute agierten in der Schweiz offenbar mit dem Einverständnis der Schweizer Steuerbehörden!
Micheels ist eher per Zufall auf diesen Sachverhalt gestossen, weil auch er von einem der Agenten über die QI-Situation in der Schweiz befragt wurde und er sich dann über die sehr detaillierten und gezielten Fragen gewundert hat. Nach seinem eigenen Bekunden hat er sich dann bei Kollegen in der IRS erkundigt, ob IRS-Leute hier 'under cover' tätig seien, was ihm informell (und off the record) bestätigt wurde.
MfG    Franz Odermatt" (Reeves Exh. 12)

D    aus: Urs Behnisch: «Die Aktenherausgabe im Fall UBS ist kriminell», NZZ Online, Zoé Baches, 22.Feb 09
    NZZ Online: Bundespräsident Merz, die Finanzmarktaufsicht Finma, die Bankiervereinigung und die UBS sagen: Es handelt sich in allen gut 300 Fällen, die von der US-Amtshilfe betroffen sind, um Steuerbetrug. Stimmt diese Aussage?
Urs Behnisch: Meines Erachtens nicht. Bei den mir vorliegenden Dossiers handelt es sich stets um US-Steuerpflichtige, die ihre Bankbeziehung mit der UBS in der Schweiz auch nach Einführung des sogenannten Qualified-Intermediary-Verfahrens im Jahr 2001 beibehalten wollten. Eines der Ziele dieses Vertrags der Schweizer Banken mit den US-Steuerbehörden war, dass US-Steuerpflichtige keine US-Wertschriften mehr kaufen, halten und verkaufen können, ohne namentlich gegenüber den US-Steuerbehörden bekanntgegeben zu werden.
    Aber in diesen Bestimmungen gibt es Lücken.
Allerdings. Das QI-Regelwerk erwies sich von Anfang an als lückenhaft. Eine hochkarätige Delegation der schweizerischen Bankiervereinigung machte die amerikanischen Behörden aus diesem Grund im Jahr 2000 noch vor dem Abschluss des Abkommens darauf aufmerksam, dass das QI-Abkommen in der vorliegenden Form brisante Fragen offen lasse.
    Welche denn?
Vor allem dies: Es sei in der Schweiz möglich, dass Privatpersonen Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaften gründeten, ihre Gelder auf diese überwiesen und diese künftig als wirtschaftlich Berechtigte im steuerlichen Sinne agieren würden. Aufgrund der erheblich weiter gehenden Identifikationspflichten, insbesondere zur Verhinderung der Geldwäscherei, wussten die Schweizer Banken stets, wer der dahinter stehende Letztberechtigte ist – ausser natürlich in Fällen betrügerischer Handlungen. Denn: Die Schweizer Banken verlangen regelmässig das sogenannte Formular A, das nicht den wirtschaftlich Berechtigten gemäss Steuergesetz, also zum Beispiel eine juristische Person, sondern den letztlich wirtschaftlich Berechtigten, also die Person hinter der juristischen Person, nennt.
    Die USA verlangten keine so umfassende Identifikation?
Nein. Wie in vielen anderen Ländern auch, genügte es den USA bei Offshore-Gesellschaften ausserhalb der USA, die Gesellschaft als wirtschaftlich berechtigt anzusehen. Nach der dahinter stehenden Person wurde in solchen Fällen vonseiten der USA nicht gefragt, auch wenn es sich um einen US-Steuerpflichtigen handelte. Die USA erklärten den Schweizer Behörden denn auch, dass das Formular A im QI-Verfahren «keine eigenständige Rolle» spielen werde. Die Frage, wer der wirtschaftlich Berechtigte an den Depotwerten sei, werde sich im QI-System ausschliesslich nach dem US-Steuerrecht richten.
    Was ist die Folge davon?
Damit wurden die Schweizer Banken davon dispensiert, ihr Wissen aus dem Formular A im Verfahren der QI-Deklaration zu verwerten. Die Banken und die US-Steuerbehörde wussten somit immer genau, dass mittels Zwischenschaltung von Gesellschaften US-Steuerpflichtige Steuern hinterziehen können.
    Nun wurde aber in den Schlussverfügungen genau das als Tatbestand des Betrugs bezeichnet.
Genau. Es wird geltend gemacht, dass in der Zwischenschaltung von Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaften eine arglistige Täuschung der Steuerbehörden liege, das heisst die Steuerbehörden arglistig und hinterhältig getäuscht wurden. Der Grund, so wird argumentiert, sei das «besondere Vertrauen» zwischen QI-Bank und US-Steuerbehörde.
    Doch hatten die Schweizer Banken und Behörden ja genau diese Zwischenschaltung im Vorfeld mit den Amerikanern abgeklärt.
Ja, die Schweizer Steuerbehörden hatten den Amerikanern die Mechanik mit der Zwischenschaltung der Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaft im Voraus unterbreitet und für das Vorgehen sozusagen «Absolution» erhalten. Damit erscheint das Amtshilfeverfahren abstrus, denn die Bank hat die US-Steuerbehörde im QI-Verfahren nicht qualifiziert getäuscht, sondern sich vielmehr auf die erteilte Auskunft verlassen. Zudem haben die Banken mit ihrem äusserst vorsichtigen Vorgehen im Jahr 2000 jegliche Täuschung vermieden – mit der Offenlegung ihres Konflikts aufgrund des Wissens aus Formular A und Anerkennung der Vermögensverwaltungsgesellschaft als Beneficial Owner nach US-Recht.
    Die Schlussverfügungen werfen den US-Kunden allerdings vor, Formular A falsch ausgefüllt zu haben.
Die US-Steuerpflichtigen, deren Dossiers ich kenne, haben das Formular A korrekt ausgefüllt, d.h., sie haben auch die Bank nicht getäuscht. Zu beachten ist schliesslich, dass die ausländischen Verfahrensordnungen irrelevant sind, denn entscheidend ist einzig, ob ein Straftatbestand nach Schweizer Recht erfüllt ist. Wie man bei diesem Vorgehen eine arglistige Täuschung annehmen kann, bleibt mir schleierhaft. Bisher hat auch niemand versucht, mir das Gegenteil begreiflich zu machen.
    Bei den gut 300 Fällen, die von der US-Amtshilfe betroffen waren, handelt es sich also nicht um Betrug?
Es ist offensichtlich und von der Eidgenössischen Steuerverwaltung in den mir vorliegenden Schlussverfügungen anerkannt, dass keine unechten oder unwahren Urkunden gegenüber den Steuerbehörden zur Täuschung verwendet wurden.

UBS-Bericht der GPK beider Räte, 10.054, vom 30. May 2010 (version française, English version), Die Behörden unter dem Druck der Finanzkrise und der Herausgabe von UBS-Kundendaten an die USA, Bericht der Geschäftsprüfungskommissionen des Nationalrates und des Ständerates, S. 3243:
    "Amerikanische Staatsbürger und in den USA wohnhafte Ausländer jedoch, die bereits vor dem Inkrafttreten des QIA als Kunden von Schweizer Finanzinstituten amerikanische Wertpapiere besassen, dürfen ihre Identität weiterhin geheim halten und ihre Wertpapiere behalten [falsch, Finanzinstitute, welche mit der amerikanischen Steuerbehörde IRS ein Qualified Intermediary Agreement (QIA) abgeschlossen haben, sind im Gegenteil verpflichtet, solche Wertpapiere innert 60 Tagen zu verkaufen und 31% des Verkaufserlöses der IRS zu überweisen!: siehe oben für pre-2001 Kontoinhaber. für post-2001 Kontoinhaber]. Das in der Schweiz ansässige Finanzinstitut, das als QI fungiert, darf ihre Identität nicht preisgeben, ist aber in diesem Fall verpflichtet, den Kunden mit Hilfe eines anonymen Formulars zu melden und auf seinen amerikanischen Kapitalerträgen eine Quellensteuer von 31 Prozent zurückzubehalten [unvollständig: die 31%ige backup withholding tax oder Quellensteuer bezieht sich nicht nur auf Kapitalerträge sondern auch auf den Wertpapiererlös, welche innert 60 Tagen verkauft werden müssen].461 Durch die systematische Besteuerung dieser nicht deklarierten amerikanischen Kunden hoffte der IRS, die Zahl der anonymen Besitzer amerikanischer Wertpapiere beträchtlich zu verringern.462 Die erklärte Absicht des QI-Systems ist es letztendlich, den Missbrauch der DBA oder das Treaty Shopping zu verhindern, US-Investitionen von amerikanischen Staatsbürgern oder in den USA wohnhaften Ausländern, die nicht beim IRS deklariert sind, zu unterbinden, Erträge aus amerikanischen Quellen vorschriftsgemäss zu besteuern und externe Akteure mit der Bestimmung der legitimen Nutzniesser der durch das DBA gewährten Steuerentlastung zu betrauen."
461Kurzbericht der FINMA vom 18.2.2009 «Untersuchung der EBK des grenzüberschreitenden Geschäfts der UBS mit Privatkunden in den USA», S 5–6.
    (UBS-Bericht 10.054, 30.Mai 2010, S. 3249):
    "Sollten sich die Hypothesen des DOJ zu den grenzüberschreitenden Aktivitäten der UBS als richtig erweisen, so würde das bedeuten, dass sich die UBS mehrerer Verstösse schuldig gemacht hätte: 1. gegen die Regeln des QIA, das eine Quellensteuer von 31 Prozent auf Dividenden und Zinsen von US-Wertpapieren vorschreibt [unvollständig: siehe oben, und hier detailliert]; 2. gegen die Restriktionen der SEC, die für Dienstleistungen an amerikanische Staatsbürger eine Registrierungspflicht vorsehen [inexacte: Die QIA-Normen sind als Spezialnormen zu verstehen, zu berücksichtigen und geltend zu machen; auch nach US-Recht kommt ihnen gegenüber generellen Normen Vorrang zu; letztere können demnach nicht oder gar als verletzt geltend gemacht werden zufolge eines durch QI-Normen gebotenen Tuns oder Lassens]; und 3. gegen die deemed sales rules." (ibid. p. 3249) [ebenfalls inexacte: der Anspruch beruht  a) meist auf einer Missachtung des Territorialprinzips und einhergehender fremder Hoheitsvorrechte, und  b) jedenfalls auf keiner verfassungsmässig zustandegekommenen Rechtsgrundlage].

F "Qualified Intermediary Program Provides Some Assurance That Taxes on Foreign Investors Are Withheld and Reported, but Can Be Improved", GAO-08-99 of Dec 07, which, inter alia, stated (p.11): "One of the principal incentives for foreign financial institutions to become QIs is their ability to retain the anonymity of their client list."; nevertheless, no congressional "watchdog" is known
-    for ever having investigated the QI problematic at any depth, or for having raised any related yellow flag,
-    to have sought, obtained and published any statistics on the backup withholding tax thus gathered globally from the some 7000 QI banks over the past 10 years, and eventually funnelled to keep some financial Titanics afloat, or
-    to have seriously inquired about who controls the appropriation and use of the estimated some $500 bn/y;
and when the QI scheme was seriously challenged in late 2000 - and again on the occasion of the UBS trial in Miami in 2009 - some US authorities acted quickly, forcefully and even recklessly, eventually replacing, or rather hiding it figleaf-wide behind the "Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment HIRE Act" of 2010 where another ill-considered last-minute rider with the name of "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA)" was smuggled into law on March 18, 2010, and where, on page 68, "separate requirements for qualified intermediaries" are mentioned pro forma - reportedly without representing any congressional approval for the QI system as such - in the space of just 7 lines).

G. "... afin que la Suisse n'encoure pas le risque de se retrouver sur une liste grise ou noire [de l'OCDE, du GAFI, du G20, etc.] ...
  "Il est possible que l'OCDE publie ses propres prescriptions en lien avec les requêtes groupées encore durant l'été 2012. Si la Suisse devait ne pas les respecter, elle figurerait de nouveau sur les listes grise ou noire. Les banques soutiennent donc le projet du Conseil fédéral." (Sprecher der Aussenpolitischen Kommission des Ständerats , Vorlage zu11.027, Amtl.Bull. 13.12.11)
  Das Schreckgespenst von schwarzen, grauen und andern rufschädigenden Schandpfahl-Listen ist zwar innerstaatlich ein reales - aber wesentlich hausbackenes. Es geht auf die OECD-Amtshilfekonvention in Steuersachen von 1988 zurück, wo es das OECD-Gründungsmitglied Schweiz unterliess, ihren Interessen und Rechten nachdrücklich, kompetent und nötigenfalls unter Anwendung ihres Vetorechts Nachachtung zu verschaffen. In der Folge ist in jenem Rahmen - und ohne irgendwelche Rechtsgrundlagen - das pure Bürokratengebilde FATF (.../fatf.htm) herangewachsen, welches sich durch Schandpfahllisten gegen Geldwäscherei, Terrorismus und Steuerhinterziehung Aufmerksamkeit zu verschaffen wusste. Gegenteiligen Zweckbehauptungen und verschlungenen Formulierungen und Ausreden zum Trotz wurde die Finanzsupermacht Schweiz selbstverständlich von allem Anfang an zur vollwertigen Mitgliedschaft und Mitarbeit in der G-20 eingeladen (siehe Antwort des Bundesrates auf die Anfrage 09.1065). Wie in der Materialien-Analyse aufgezeigt (.../abwehr.htm#G20), ist die demnach auf Verwaltungsebene (sic!) erfolgte Ablehnung der offiziellen Einladung zur G-20 mit den Listen-Plätzen und Listendrohungen der G-20 in direkten Zusammenhang zu bringen. Und ist bei anhaltender Führungslosigkeit und mit weitergehenden Rechtsbeugungen und Kniefällen alles andere als Stärkung unserer Position gegenüber zusehends belastenderen fremden Begehrlichkeiten zu erwarten.
  Die OECD ist gemäss ihren Statuten eine den Mitgliedstaaten zudienende Dienstleistungsorganisation und kein supra-nationaler Befehlsgeber. Kein Staat der die mit seiner Souveränität verbundenen Möglichkeiten nicht fahrlässig, mutwillig oder ohne Gegenleistung opfern oder untergraben will, denkt daran, den selbst-zudienenden Phantasien der OECD- und andern Bürokraten mittels gemeinschädlichen Gruppenanfragen und ähnlichen rechtlichen Abartigkeiten Vorschub zu leisten oder gar nachzukommen. Die Schweiz wäre hier einmal mehr in die Rolle eines sich selbst schädigenden Versuchskaninchens gedrängt, das von ihren Konkurrenten zwar beklatscht wird, aber eben vor allem deshalb, weil sie damit andere stärkt, sich selbst aber schwächt und evt. gar ins Abseits manövriert. Wer als ihr Unterhändler statt solche gemeinschädigende bürokratische Standards nach Kräften zu bekämpfen, durch eigenes Tun und Lassen diesen gar Vorschub leistet oder das Wort redet, ist am falschen Platz und gehört zurückgerufen. Dafür wurde u.a. Art.267 StGB (fahrlässiger diplomatischer Landerverrat) geschaffen, und zwar keineswegs - wie vom Bundesrat behauptet - aus "Versehen des Gesetzgebers", (.../267inter.htm#Versehen) sondern ganz offensichtlich ohne genügende Beachtung auch auf Verwaltungsstufe.
   Mag sein, dass Banken wie Credit Suisse und UBS ihre Hausaufgaben immer noch nicht gemacht haben, und weiterhin glauben risikofreiden Anspruch auf vermeintliche politische Befreiungsschläge erheben und durchdrücken zu sollen - unbeachtet der Kosten und Zukunftsbeschränkungen, welche damit kleineren Banken und anderen Wirtschaftgruppen erwachsen. Die Bankiers mit denen ich in Kontakt stehe - worunter auch die mit CS und UBS verbundenen - teilen zumindest privat die vom Kommissions-Sprecher transportierte Meinung auf keinen Fall (ihr Profil findet sich in meiner Philippika zum Neujahr: .../kingpin.htm#6). Wie im Falle der QI-Problematik - und zuvor schon bei den Abwehrbemühungen zur OECD-INTERFIPOL Amtshilfekonvention in Steuersachen - offenkundig geworden, ist insbesondere die Haltung der Schweizerischen Bankiervereinigung in dieser Frage weder tiefgängig noch representativ. Und da Art.267 StGB für diese Ausverkäufer unseres Erbes nicht anwendbar scheint, anerbietet sich vielleicht in der Aufhebung der andauernd verheerenden EFD-Ausnahmebewilligung zu Art.271 StGB ein zweckmässiges Remedurmittel.

H. "Ces conditions adaptées de l'assistance administrative font déjà partie de la convention avec les Etats-Unis - il est important de le savoir. ...
    Les requêtes groupées sont prévues déjà aujourd'hui selon la convention de 1996 en vigueur dans le cadre de la fraude fiscale, comme l'a confirmé d'ailleurs le Tribunal fédéral. ...
    ... afin d'assurer la continuité de la pratique judiciaire en ce qui concerne l'autorisation des demandes fondées sur des modèles de comportement définis ...
    Ces conditions adaptées ont déjà fait l'objet de débats approfondis en commission et au conseil à l'occasion de l'adoption par notre Parlement, le 18 juin 2010, de la convention contre les doubles impositions entre la Suisse et les Etats-Unis. La commission en a à nouveau débattu et elle n'a pas reçu d'éléments nouveaux susceptibles de remettre en cause l'approbation par le Parlement de ces conditions adaptées et conformes aux normes internationales, conditions déjà intégrées à la convention liant la Suisse et les Etats-Unis acceptée en juin 2010 par l'Assemblée fédérale."  (Sprecher der Aussenpolitischen Kommission des Ständerats , Vorlage zu11.027, Amtl.Bull. 13.12.11)
    Diese verniedlichenden, jedoch richtungsweisenden Schlüsselaussagen des Kommissions-Sprechers reflektieren nur ungenügend die Kommissionsdebatte. Sie mögen zwar - vermeintlich - der von ihm beratenen Credit Suisse zudienen. Und sie werden dahingehend auch unbeirrt von der Verwaltung und mehrheitlich gar vom Bundesrat zur Ermöglichung des nächsten grossen Kniefalls vor eigenmächtig agierenden US-Beamten unterstützt. Fakt ist aber, dass sie weiterhin in direktem Gegensatz stehen zum Vertragstext, zu den Materialien des hiesigen und des amerikanischen Parlaments, zum hiesigen Ordre public, zu den diesbezüglich praktisch einmütigen Lehrmeinungen, zu den auf dem Spiel stehenden Schweizer Interessen, zum gesunden Menschverstand und selbst zur Judikatur. Letzteres wenigstens dann, wenn man von den siebzigseitigen Ausführungen des Gerichtsschreibers des Bundesverwaltungsgerichts absieht, der mit dem notorischen Abschreibungsentscheid vom 5.3.09 (A-7342/8000) offenbar glaubte, der gerichtlichen Rechtssetzung etwas anderes als einen Bärendienst zu leisten - und das erst noch in einem nebensächlichen Punkt. Fakt ist zudem, dass selbst das Bundesverwaltungsgericht in keinem Satz jenes bedenklichen Abschreibungsentscheides Bezug genommen hat - oder nehmen konnte - auf eine angeblich bereits im DBA 96 vorgesehene Möglichkeit von namenlosen Gruppenanfragen
    Soweit aus den öffentlich zugänglichen Materialien ersichtlich haben die Eidg. Räte im Juni 2010 einem Vertragstext zugestimmt, der wesentlich den bundesrätlichen Erwägungen gemäss Botschaft zur DBA-Ergänzung entspricht, jedoch die bewährte Praxis der individuellen Namensnennung bestätigt und namenlose Gruppenanfragen ausdrücklich ausschliesst. Wäre dem nicht so, bestünde keinerlei Anlass zur jetzigen Vorlage. Und schon gar nicht zum bedenklichen gesetzgeberischen Novum - soweit ersichtlich - eine Vertragsänderung, dazu noch eine rückwirkende, per Interprepationsänderung der Vertrags-Botschaft durchzupeitschen. Das scheint mir eine noch nie geübte, schwerwiegende und unwürdige Hintertreppenmechanik darzustellen.
   Tatsächlich darf in einem sich selbst achtenden und auf seine Zukunft bedachten Rechtsstaat ein juristischer Irrläufer weder zum juristischen Vorbild noch zum gesetzgeberischen Mass der Dinge angehoben werden; der verfassungsmässige Gesetzgeber ist vielmehr aufgefordert, seinem richterlichen Zauberlehrling unverzüglich in die Arme zu fallen, und sein allenfalls missverständliches oder allzu frei interpretatierbares Gesetzeswerk zu präzisieren - in Harmonie mit dem Volkswillen, dem Ordre public, den Verträgen, den nationalen Interessen und dem gesunden Menschenverstand.
  Ständerat Germann hat dies so auf den Punkt gebracht:

"Aber wir sollten nicht Tür und Tor öffnen für diese Gruppenanfragen und schon gar nicht für eine Rückwirkung, von der nun offenbar die Rede ist.
Das Ganze führt ja auch zu einer massiven Verunsicherung des Finanzplatzes Schweiz respektive zu einer Unsicherheit, denn sehen Sie: Wenn die Steuerverwaltung irgendwelche Kundendaten gegenüber den USA preisgibt, woher hat sie diese denn? Die Bank liefert sie ihr. Wenn jetzt die Bank plötzlich die Strafverfolgungsbehörde ist und Datensätze von Kunden ausliefert, für die es gar keine Anfrage gibt, ist doch der Willkür Tür und Tor geöffnet! Ich bitte Sie dringend, sich das gut zu überlegen. ...
Ich bin nicht bereit, hier die Katze im Sack zu kaufen und unser Rechtssystem aufs Spiel zu setzen. Nirgends im DBA von 1996 ist ein Freipass auf Gruppenanfragen zu finden. Der existiert erst, seit ein Bundesverwaltungsrichter hierzu grünes Licht gegeben hat. Und jetzt stützt man sich auf dieses Bundesverwaltungsgerichtsurteil ab. Ich meine aber, dass immer noch wir hier der Gesetzgeber sind und dass das, was der Gesetzgeber sagt, gilt - und nicht, was ein einzelner Richter irgendwann entschieden hat."