An Italian News Reporter Mocks an Austrian Bank
Avoid eavesdropping of conversations
The Italian reporter Gian Micalessin aired on Italian prime-time television (see video) to denounce those who take their savings abroad to protect them from the Italian Revenue Service. The unprepared official of the Austrian bank Für Tirol und Veralberg was caught unawares and put the country’s entire banking system under ridicule and in danger. According to the Colombian expert Samad Payandeh Cardona “this wouldn’t have happened if the bank had adopted simple security measures such as a spy camera detector or an Acoustic Noise Generator, in order to protect and avoid eavesdropping of conversations, devices that every offshore financial and professional tax planning institution should use when giving confidential information to potential clients that could be revealed as reporters or, even worse, tax agents or competitors that want to discredit them.”. Are you looking for some inside information on adopt simple security measures such as a spy camera detector or a Acoustic Noise Generator, in order to protect and avoid eavesdropping of conversations, devices that every offshore financial and professional tax planning institution should use when giving confidential information to potential clients? Here's an up-to-date report on NON adopting simple security measures such as a spy camera detector or a Acoustic Noise Generator, in order to protect and avoid eavesdropping of conversations, devices that every offshore financial and professional tax planning institution should use when giving confidential information to potential clients.
This is the tale of the Italian reporter who checkmated one of the most solid banking institutes of Austria, breaking down the image and “guarantees” of privacy of the Austrian Banking center. In Innsbruck, only a few kilometers from the border, the banks are rolling out golden carpets for those who ant to deposit money in their coffers. “Forget about Switzerland, here banking secrecy is guaranteed by the Constitution,” offers Dr. Thomas, a beanpole with a blue jacket and corn silk blond hair, a rock-like guest, immobile and mute behind a tidy desk. A helpful secretary from the bank Fur Tirol und Veralberg of Innsbruck had transferred my call to him two days earlier. “Please wait. I pass you responsible of Italian clients.” It wasn’t a great conversation. I mentioned my ruffian Swiss account; he blocked me as though I were proposing a robbery from Fort Knox. “Please, don’t say anything else; it’s better if we speak in person. There’s always someone listening in on your cell phones; come see me and we’ll see what we can do.”
Forty-eight hours and 450 kilometers from Milan, here I am in his candid office on the second floor of the Bank fur Tirol und Veralberg of Innsbruck. He, Dr. Thomas, is from Bolzano and was hired and placed in that section for dealing with the Italian clientele. It’s not a low-class job. Here in the Tirol, as in Carinthia along the Friuli borders, Italian money is as tempting or more than it is in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Here, according to the official data of the National Bank of Austria, the deposits of our fellow citizens amount to 1 billion 399 million euro. But the amounts are incorrect, statistics cleansed from business capital where the amount is unknown and from the unmentioned totals of more “distracted” institutions. In any case, the official count should be at least doubled and the amount represents an enormous portion of the riches that escape our country’s tax count every year. So, it’s not surprising that every bank here in Innsbruck that respects itself has an entire section dedicated to we Italians.
While I pretend to want to join my savings to those out of control patrimonies, Dr. Thomas looks me up and down with boorish distrust. “‘You know,’ I recited, ‘I have 3 million euro, 3 million 600 thousand, to be precise, all of which was left to me by my poor father.’ He said, ‘Don’t ever touch it, this will be your security; leave it in Switzerland—you can’t miss…’ ‘ But those were other times, Switzerland was safe… now, I don’t trust them anymore.’”
Dr. Thomas listens, but the only concession he makes is a few benign grunts. He’s only 31 years old, but he has already earned to be distrustful. And he’s right. When he reads this article today, or when he watches the episode “Speciale TG 1, L’Inchiesta” (TG1 Special – The Inquiry) he’ll understand that a hidden micro-camera has carried away words and images. But for now, I’m only an aspiring client. So, after having listened to me he lifts his hand and pronounces the only rule for entering into the great game. “Excuse me, but how did you get to me?” I have a studied answer. “Oh, come on, Dr. Thomas. Don’t make me laugh. You put your name on Internet and then ask how a client has found you? Yours is one of those banks that offer consultations to Italians.” That trite answer was revealed as being the simple, but effective abracadabra for sweeping away the screen of discretion. “Very well, Mr. Ruggeri, now you are in the right place; if you are looking for something different from what Switzerland offers, something less than being in the eye of the storm, then Austria is an excellent choice. Here, banking secrecy resists. Here, heaven be thanked, nothing has changed… There was secrecy and it continues to resist.”
While he rattles off those revelations, the austere banker appears as an oracle illuminated by the joy of prophecy. In exchange, I nod my head with the enthusiasm of terminally ill patient faced with a miraculous cure and get straight to the point. “So, if instead of making a fiscal shield I transfer my savings from Switzerland to Austria without spending a lira, and I’m protected?” Thomas swallows, looking you in the face like a child who has been accused of stealing from the collection plate. “Well, I don’t want to suggest that you not make a shield, but we’re both Italians, we know how things are in our country; if you make a shield, you put your name on a list… Certainly, it would be secret, but it’s possible that tomorrow there could be a new government; a new minister arrives in office and starts controlling all the names… Instead, here banking secrecy is serious, much more serious than it is in Switzerland. Here, banking secrecy is regulated by the Constitution… To change it or eliminate it, two thirds of Parliament would have to vote for it. On the other hand, the Swiss could change it from one day to the next, because their secrecy is only a simple banking law.
I listened ecstatically, then, at the first pause, I blurt out all the doubts of someone who has an authentic mound of money abroad. I reminded him that the Revenue Service hunts down currency exporters directly in the Swiss branches, and then I asked for illumination on last September’s law in which the Austrian Parliament insists that they have conformed to the European laws. Dr. Thomas didn’t even skip a beat. “Believe me, very little has changed for our clients from September up till now. That law doesn’t mean anything. Here, the Revenue Service can knock all they want, but they’ll never get anything. Here, if they want answers, they have to present requests so solid as to discourage anyone. The history of the last ten years is standard. When some of our clients were tried in Italy for fraud, tax evasion, false invoices or similar crimes, no one ever came to ask the Austrian banks anything, and do you know why? Because this isn’t Switzerland or Ticino, we speak German here and things are much more complicated here.”
Explaining these “terribly complicated” things to you in such a clear manner, think of another fellow citizen from Bolzano, responsible for the Italian clientele of the Tiroler Sparkasse. “The law that was voted on in September by the Parliament was only to pull Austria off of the OCSE gray list, but it didn’t change the Austrian banking secrecy. Thanks to that law, Austria has signed twelve bilateral agreements with as many countries as required by the OCSE, but it chose countries that were economically irrelevant for its own banks, like South Korea and Liechtenstein. It was careful, on the other hand, to make no such agreements with Italy or Germany. Thanks to that law, Austria is no longer under international surveillance, but at the same time, it continues to have no agreement with the Italian and German governments.” Dr. Roberto is a real guru pertaining to Italian deposits. There is a brochure making the rounds on Internet that explains all the Austrian banking secrecy arcane to our savers and invites the Italians “to not b frightened by what they hear in the news” which is guilty of saying that also the Austrian banking secrecy is dead. “The protection of the privacy sector of our clients continues to be guaranteed and remains our main interest,” the zealous custodian of the deposits that have been entrusted to him by our fellow citizens reminds us in the pamphlet that has circulated over Internet. So, when I went to visit him and to explain my sad case as being a currency agent on the verge of divorce, he looked at me as though I had been condemned to death. “If your wife is eyeing your patrimony, and your money is in Switzerland, then you’re looking at trouble. One of my clients got divorced once and left a bank statement in the house that was left to his wife. It was like taking milk from a baby for the lawyers to make him give half his patrimony to his wife. Remember two things: Making a tax shield means putting your name on paper, while leaving your money in Switzerland is a big risk. The Austrian tranquility is the best guarantee for you to not be constrained to give a big, unexpected gift to your wife.”