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Black money in pristine Switzerland - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • Feb 20, 2009

    Black money in pristine Switzerland

    Client confidentiality is one of the unique selling points of the Swiss banking system. But not when the world's only superpower is in no mood to tolerate financial thievery. As per the International Herald Tribune, Switzerland provided the UBS bank account details of hundreds of clients to the US government in connection with tax evasion charges. UBS is Switzerland's largest bank. It is expected that more bank accounts will be brought under review. In fact, a US court might expand it to 52,000 clients with assets of US$ 14.8 bn. Germany will be watching closely, as it does not approve of practice of secret Swiss bank accounts.

    We wonder if the Indian government would ever ask for such disclosures. It seems unlikely. Firstly, most of the bank accounts would be of politicians. Secondly, the US has a much greater influence as it is a major market for UBS. India is nowhere as lucrative. In any case, it is interesting how the Swiss financial industry has been allowed to prosper by offering dubious features like secrecy.

    Dow at 6-year low
    The Dow slumped to its 6-year low yesterday. The low of the last bear market was in October 9, 2002. It seemed that late November last year would be the lowest point as the panic around the financial sector turmoil was its peak then. However, the bailout package has not cheered investors.

    Clean bowled
    The race for market share in the direct to home (DTH) space is taking its toll. As per a leading business daily, Kunal Dasgupta, the CEO of Multi Screen Media (erstwhile Sony Entertainment Television), has resigned over a tussle between Sunil Mittal's Airtel digital TV and Anil Ambani's Big TV. Sony has IPL's rights for 10 years. Airtel digital TV was to be the presenting sponsor, while Big TV the ground sponsor. Big TV walked out in protest and the BCCI asked Sony to compensate for the loss. Mr. Dasgupta was caught in the crossfire between the telecom biggies. We believe that prolonged DTH wars will benefit consumers, but will cause a lot of grief for many stakeholders in the times to come.

    Go ahead for Satyam sale
    The Company Law Board (CLB) has approved of the sale of equity in Satyam to strategic investors. It has directed that an open bidding process should be used for the purpose. The CLB has also asked the company to seek permission from SEBI to waive the takeover code requiring the use of the past six months price in valuing the stake sale. This move will provide Satyam's board the price flexibility to attract prospective buyers.



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