Lebanese bankers expect European version of FATCA

Lebanon is host to a large financial sector, and is ranked 7th on the Financial Secrecy Index.

On August 27th the Daily Star, which often covers financial news, reported:

“BEIRUT: Some bankers have said that European states are expected to follow the example of the United States and ask their citizens abroad to disclose their bank accounts to European financial authorities in a bid to combat tax evasion.”

A banker is anonymously quoted saying:

“It’s not official yet but we expect some European countries to adopt similar measures to the United States concerning the bank accounts of their citizens abroad and if this happens then Lebanese banks will fully comply with these measures,”

Another interviewee went on the record:

“The chairman and general manager of Jammal Trust Bank Anwar Jammal believes that the Europeans or some of the European countries are assessing the FATCA [US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act] and Internal Revenue Service legislation in order to come up with their own version of the law.”

“I expect the European version to be more draconian than FATCA. We have not been informed when the Europeans will take this step but I expect it could be at the end of this year or 2015. The Europeans are studying all the loopholes in FATCA so they can produce their own version” Jammal said.

The article also discusses the possible consequences for Lebanon’s banking secrecy law:

“Local banks in general, and the Central Bank in particular, are keen to preserve the cherished banking secrecy law. Bankers vehemently denied some media reports that FATCA and other similar measures would eventually lead to the removal of the banking secrecy law.”

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