Since the financial crash Calls for a crackdown on bank secrecy have been increasing, as governments are increasingly desperate to raise more taxes to support their finances. Luxembourg will now move to strengthen co-operation with foreign tax authorities. Germany signed a tax evasion treaty with Switzerland - another European banking centre known for its secrecy – earlier in the month. The treaty aims to give the German tax authorities the ability to claw back taxes from their citizens who may be hiding money in Swiss banks. Austria, the only EU hold out against banking transparency, has attacked the UK as an “island of the blessed for tax evasion and money laundering".
Austria’s finance minister, Maria Fekter, has been under intense pressure to put an end to Austria's long-held tradition of allowing foreigners to bank secretly. She has attempted to deflect attention towards the UK. Fekter, a member of Austria's governing coalition, says the European Union cannot force Austria to reform its controversial banking secrecy laws without also forcing the UK to crack down on tax havens in its jurisdiction. Across the pond, the US Government is trying to crack down on its citizens hiding money offshore and is due to start talks with Austria soon. These recent developments leave David Cameron and George Osborne, staunch defenders of the City of London and Crown Dependency Tax Havens, which coincidently happen to be centres of worldwide money laundering operations.