U.S. Demands on Switzerland

In 2011 alone, multiple cases surfaced in which the U.S. government openly pressured and publicly demanded that Switzerland change their legal policies in regards to banking and travel visas.

David Chase Taylor's case for political asylum in Switzerland is no different.

Based on the actions and inactions of the Migration Office of the Canton of Zürich, it is now widely assumed that they are receiving political pressure from the U.S. and its intelligence services. The U.S. pressure is a desperate attempt to pressure the Migration Office of the Canton of Zürich to ignore, delay and ultimately reject Taylor's case for political asylum in Switzerland.

What demands, legal or illegal, the U.S. is making on members of the Swiss government in regards to Taylor's case unknown, but U.S. intelligence services have previously demanded that Switzerland act in regards to Taylor.

U.S. "Demands that We [Switzerland] Act"

Evidence of U.S. political demands on Switzerland first emerged in the form of a February 1, 2011, phone conversation between David Chase Taylor and Officer Olivier Ruembeli of the Swiss Federal Criminal Police. During the phone conversation, Taylor was informed by
Officer Ruembeli that an immediate meeting in Bern, Switzerland, was wanted based on the demands of U.S. intelligence services.

This demand was later reiterated in a February 3, 2011, email whereby Officer Ruembeli informed Taylor that
"U.S. intelligence services" have "demands that we [Switzerland] act." (see email below)

Despite repeated verbal and written attempts by Taylor to inform Officer Ruembeli that he was not interested in meeting with anybody, Officer Ruembeli continued to contact Taylor in hopes of gaining a meeting to satisfy U.S. demands.

Text Messages & Emails

The following texts and emails were exchanged on February 2nd and 3rd of 2011, between Officer Olivier Ruembeli of the Swiss Federal Criminal Police and David Chase Taylor

February 2, 2011 Text (A)

Date: February 2, 2011 (4:31 PM)
Network: Sunrise
To: David Chase Taylor (0041.076.497.74.26)
From: Officer Olivier Ruembeli (0041.079.776.27.55)

February 2, 2011 Text (B)

February 2, 2011 (5:02 PM)
Type: Text (2/3)
Network: Sunrise
To: Officer Olivier Ruembeli (0041.079.776.27.55)
From: David Chase Taylor (0041.076.497.74.26)

February 2, 2011 Text (C)

Date: February 2, 2011 (5:35 PM)
Type: Text (3/3)
Network: Sunrise
To: David Chase Taylor (0041.076.497.74.26)
From: Officer Olivier Ruembeli (0041.079.776.27.55)

February 3, 2011 (A)

February 3, 2011 (8:06 AM)
Type: Email (1/2)
Network: Gmail
To: David Chase Taylor (davidtaylor.ch@gmail.com)
From: Officer Olivier Ruembeli (olivier.ruembeli@fedpol.admin.ch)

February 3, 2011 (A) Email

February 3, 2011 (11:01 AM)
Type: Email (2/2)
Network: Gmail
To: David Chase Taylor (davidtaylor.ch@gmail.com)
From: Officer Olivier Ruembeli (olivier.ruembeli@fedpol.admin.ch)

U.S. Pressure on Swiss Banks

Title: Swiss Banks Urge ‘United Front’ Against U.S. Pressure On Tax Evasion
Date: September 5, 2011
Subject: New York Times

Abstract: The Swiss Bankers Association lashed out Monday at the possibility of another tax treaty with the United States aimed at handing over details of Americans suspected of using Swiss banks to cheat on their taxes. 

The trade group’s chairman, Patrick Odier, urged the Swiss people and the government to “put up a united front” and work out a solution that applies to all countries. He said that U.S. and Swiss politicians must work with existing accords.

“The solution must be globally applicable, be definitive and correspond to existing Swiss law,” Mr. Odier told the association at a meeting in Basel, Switzerland, according to his prepared remarks. “A second bilateral treaty has to be avoided and the U.S. needs to respect this.”

A double taxation agreement was approved by Switzerland in 2009, but is still awaiting ratification by the U.S. Senate.

The United States last year forced Switzerland to agree to a separate bilateral tax treaty to prevent the country’s biggest bank, UBS, from facing damaging civil litigation in U.S. courts for helping thousands of Americans hide money in offshore accounts.

UBS was forced to hand over the names of thousands of American account holders and pay a $780 million fine in a landmark case that pierced Switzerland’s storied tradition of banking secrecy. Swiss lawmakers are due to approve a revised tax agreement with the U.S. this fall.

But Switzerland now fears that U.S. officials may try to bring charges against one or more Swiss banks, including Credit Suisse, if it does not divulge more details on how many Americans may have used Swiss banks to avoid paying their U.S. taxes.

The Swiss government has also faced similar growing pressure outside the United States, and has signed revised agreements with several countries, including Germany and Britain, to provide greater help to foreign tax authorities seeking information on their citizens’ accounts in the Alpine nation.

Taken together, the moves have been widely seen as the beginning of the end of Switzerland’s strict policy of noncooperation with foreign authorities in tax evasion cases.

“The U.S. should take the tax agreements with Germany and the United Kingdom as an example. Bilateral problems between friendly nations should be solved by mutual agreement,” Mr. Odier said.

The agreements with Germany and Britain were both reached in August. Swiss banks will pay an up-front guarantee of 2 billion francs, or nearly $2.7 billion, to Germany and 500 million Swiss francs, or $630 million, to Britain.

German residents who haven’t previously declared existing assets in Switzerland will have the chance to make a one-time tax payment totaling between 19 and 34 percent of those assets, or to declare them to German authorities. Similarly, British clients will have the option of making an anonymous one-off payment for taxes owed in the past, or declaring their assets to British authorities.

The Swiss Bankers Association said also that there may be rough times ahead because of the strong franc and new banking requirements to boost capital holdings.

In a statement Monday, it said “the economic and regulatory trends indicate that there may be some headwinds going forward.”

But the group reported that Swiss banks’ combined assets rose slightly to 2.7 trillion francs, and generated earnings of 61.5 billion francs in 2010 — an increase of 13.4 percent in earnings on the year.

The value of the franc has risen sharply as a safe haven for investors, but that has made Swiss exports more expensive, driving down profits.

Banks also must meet new rules to gradually increase their capital cushions, eating into the amount they can invest (New York Times, 2011)

U.S. Pressure on the Swiss Government 

Title: US Threatens Swiss With Return To Visas
Date: December 8, 2011
Subject: The Local

Washington is putting pressure on Bern to allow it direct access to certain police records where fingerprints and DNA profiles are stored, according to a Swiss media report. 

If Switzerland does not meet the American demands by June 2012, the US government will reintroduce a visa requirement for Swiss citizens travelling to the United States, reports the Tages Anzeiger newspaper.

This means that the 340,000 Swiss who travel annually to the US would have to visit the US Embassy in person to request a visa and pay a fee of 130 francs ($140).

Bern has so far resisted signing on to Washington's Preventing and Combating Serious Crime (PSCS) agreement, a move that would give the Swiss citizens continued access to the US visa waiver programme, ESTA. 

The programme currently enables Swiss citizens to enter the US using only their biometric passports, which became mandatory in 2010. ESTA was implemented to combat terrorism after the September 11th 2001 attacks.

If Switzerland accepts the conditions imposed by the United States, US authorities will be allowed direct computer access to Swiss police databases containing fingerprint details and DNA profiles.

Furthermore, US investigators could ask Switzerland to hand over the names, ages, passport numbers and criminal records of anybody suspected of terrorism-related crimes, Tages Anzeiger reports.

Critics fear that this data might not be protected once it reaches the US (The Local, 2011).