A recent survey by the Swiss Finance Ministry has found that 51 per cent of those questioned favour maintaining banking secrecy in its present form, compared with 57 per cent a year ago.

Reportedly, almost a third of the 1,516 people interviewed said they would like to see banking secrecy lifted in cases of tax evasion, as well as for fraud (compared with 30 per cent and 25 per cent in 2003 and 25 per cent in 2001).

Fifteen per cent favoured the scrapping of banking secrecy – up from 11 per cent last year.

*”The last four years have seen a clear polarisation of opinions,”* said a spokesman for the Ministry.

The survey also questioned participants on issues such as the national debt (levels and reduction measures), tax burdens, and the Swiss-EU agreement on taxation of interest.

A new money-laundering ordinance that came into effect on July 1 (after a one year transition period) requires Swiss banks to reveal the names of customer who transfer money abroad. At that time, Swissinfo (Switzerland’s news and information platform) reported that although numbered accounts had not disappeared entirely, clients can no longer conceal their identity behind an anonymous set of digits when making transactions.

Meanwhile, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) maintains that *”It is internationally recognised that Switzerland has the toughest rules in the world to fight money laundering.”*