Ellen R. Levin


In recent years the Swiss have grown defensive about the bad reputation their banks have earned for hiding so-called "dirty" money. A common perception is that through the protection of strict Swiss banking and commercial secrecy laws, Swiss numbered accounts hold the ill-gotten gains of organized crime, corrupt politicians, United States income tax evaders, and inside traders on United States securities markets. Both out of concern for preserving the integrity of what is regarded as Switzerland's most valuable asset -- its banking sector -- and in response to mounting criticism from abroad, Switzerland has agreed to help the United States in its fight against international crime. Switzerland's cooperation commitments are embodied in the Treaty on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Mattersand a Memorandum of Understanding which, in conjunction with a Swiss Bankers' Association Agreement, facilitate the enforcement of United States securities laws against insider trading.