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Swiss Banks Must Ditch U.S. Customers, Blocher Tells l’Agefi

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Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss banks should sever ties with U.S. clients until the legal situation between the two countries is clarified, Christoph Blocher, vice president of the Swiss People’s Party, said in an interview with l’Agefi.

Wegelin & Co.’s decision to sell its non-American business to Raiffeisen Schweiz came amid “blackmail” by U.S. authorities seeking to obtain client data or ruin the firm, the newspaper cited Blocher as saying. The U.S. is attacking Swiss banks to gain business for American firms, Blocher told l’Agefi.

Livio Zanolari, a spokesman for Blocher, confirmed in a telephone interview with Bloomberg News that the comments in l’Agefi were accurate.

The Swiss People’s Party won the backing of 26.6 percent of voters in national elections on Oct. 23, the biggest share of any Swiss party.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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