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Oligarchs Beware: Switzerland Agrees To Give Bank Info To Russian Finance Ministry

Bad news for Russian tax evaders who’ve counted on Swiss bank accounts, as Switzerland agrees to turn over information to Moscow about account holders, particularly in relation to tax investigations.

Ruble banknotes
Ruble banknotes

Worldcrunch *NEWSBITES

MOSCOW - Russia and Switzerland have signed an agreement that will give the Russian Finance Ministry access to information about Russian citizens' accounts in Switzerland.

The agreement, signed over the weekend, formalizes an existing information exchange accord between the two counties regarding Russian citizens with Swiss bank accounts.

Switzerland has long been a safe harbor for investors. But in the wake of the financial crisis, it has been forced to sign agreements with a number of countries regarding the disclosure of bank account information.

The Swiss government was forced to take this unpopular step after the G20 summit in April of 2009, in the middle of the financial crisis. As a result of the meeting, Switzerland was placed on a so-called ‘grey" list of countries who have formally agreed to share financial information if other governments request it in relation to a tax investigation, but have not actually fulfilled their obligations under those agreements.

According to Swiss media, in order to get off the black list, the Swiss government will need to sign at least 12 bilateral agreements regarding information disclosure. At the moment, Switzerland has signed agreements with the U.S., Denmark, Norway, France, Mexico and Luxembourg, and some Swiss banks have made additional agreements with governments on their own.

The latest agreement allows the Russian Finance Ministry to obtain information about potential tax cheats if there is sufficient suspicion of tax evasion or fraud. The agreement was signed just before Monday's resignation of Russian Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, following his criticism of President Dimitry Medvedev's candidacy to become Prime Minister after the next presidential elections that are expected to return Vladimir Putin to the top job.

Read more from Kommersant in Russian

Photo- ¡Álex!

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Influencer Union? The Next Labor Rights Battle May Be For Social Media Creators

With the end of the Hollywood writers and actors strikes, the creator economy is the next frontier for organized labor.

​photograph of a smartphone on a selfie stick

Smartphone on a selfie stick

Steve Gale/Unsplash
David Craig and Stuart Cunningham

Hollywood writers and actors recently proved that they could go toe-to-toe with powerful media conglomerates. After going on strike in the summer of 2023, they secured better pay, more transparency from streaming services and safeguards from having their work exploited or replaced by artificial intelligence.

But the future of entertainment extends well beyond Hollywood. Social media creators – otherwise known as influencers, YouTubers, TikTokers, vloggers and live streamers – entertain and inform a vast portion of the planet.

✉️ You can receive our Bon Vivant selection of fresh reads on international culture, food & travel directly in your inbox. Subscribe here.

For the past decade, we’ve mapped the contours and dimensions of the global social media entertainment industry. Unlike their Hollywood counterparts, these creators struggle to be seen as entertainers worthy of basic labor protections.

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