The «Brilliant» Named Switzerland. Part 1. On Oligarchs, Taxes and Banks

Switzerland - a leader in the number of multimillionaires and multibillionaires.

The common opinion that London is said to be the capital of the business elite, formed in the last decade on the ruins of the Soviet empire, is not quite true. Yes, wealthy people pay a tribute to the capital of Albion (foreign media calls it precisely as Londongrad, due to a large number of Russians who have settled there), but in recent years they prefer to live, work and buy luxury real estates in the country, geographically continuing the outlines of the Italian boot on the map - in Switzerland. This small "Alpine republic" was chosen by oligarchs. Even a new place-name appeared in the Swiss everyday speech – a "valley of Russian businessmen"; this is how natives call the Zug coast, which is now can not be called otherwise than Russian "Rublevka".

First, everybody was cool with that. Russian businessmen acquired fashionable real estates “in bulk” - villas, chalets and small five-star hotels on the most famous resorts, thereby investing in the Swiss real estate market. I must say, they "invested" in full. For example, one of the founders of the Swiss Agency for selection of elite real estate complained of discomfort in working with Russian clientele - potential buyers were constantly not satisfied with the price. Too cheap. (!)

Over the past five years, purchasing priorities have been a little bit "shifted" and business sharks have switched to an exclusive - architectural monuments, which fact has extremely angered the Swiss. The latter fear that Russians, who are far from the traditional European values, will not be able to appreciate the historical and cultural importance of buildings and interior tastelessness will cause irreparable damage to the national architectural heritage.

Switzerland is a leader in the number of multimillionaires and multibillionaires, most of whom are visitants who have chosen this unique country as the most optimal place of residence: they are very impressed by swiss-living with all its components, and the sources of their income are concentrated outside the Swiss Confederation.

The capital of the Swiss business world - Zurich - also did not go unnoticed. The place of residence of Victor Vekselberg is Zug, Alexander Lebedev settled himself at Lucerne, and the former of "current" ones, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, settled with his family at German-speaking St. Gallen.

Recently, BILAN Swiss magazine has published statistics according to which eight people of a hundred of richest Swiss residents are from the CIS.

The president of "Skolkovo" Foundation, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of "Renova" group of companies Viktor Veselberg was the first of the top businessmen who had moved to the Swiss Confederation (the official name). In 2004, he purchased his first Swiss home in a cozy canton of Zurich. The house was located next door to the mansion of Tina Turner, who moved here in 1984. History is silent on how the relationship of the oligarch with the stellar neighbor has been developing, but it is known for sure, that the appearance of the billionaire in the area was not really liked by the local population, those who were "ordinary". Zurich residents insisted on the abolition of tax privileges for Victor Veselberg and, by the way, succeeded. Moreover, the result was that the businessman was forced to change his Zurich "palace" for a more modest house, and move from the most prestigious canton of Zug to the place, which can hardly be called elite. The mansion in Zurich, by the way, remained in the ownership of the businessman, is estimated at 20 million euros.

A lot of troubles were caused by local activists to the owner of the investment group - Volga Group, Gennady Timchenko. And also because of the tax benefits. This time activists appealed to the famous Geneva three-storey villa of the businessman, which description has flooded the Internet not so long ago. His new "little house" (worth 8 million Euros) in German-speaking Zurich is not as remarkable as the notorious villa.

In Switzerland Russian oligarchs are treated with undisguised "caution" - for their arrogance, ostentatious extravagance, for the pro-Kremlin mood and unnecessary "vociferous" lifestyle ("silence" for a Swissman is a special point). However, the true causes of the conflict of a socially active common Swissman and a "common" post-Soviet "Rothschild" is in the Swiss tax system.

Tax policy is one of the most attractive facets of the Swiss Life for oligarchs. The current system of "fixed taxation" is very convenient to representatives of the business elite. According to the tax legislation, taxes are calculated "by costs", without taking into account the number of zeros in the digital equivalent of the actual income and capital. The costs themselves (rent, staff, health care, leisure, etc.) of Russian tycoons are not commensurable with their real capital and make a ridiculous percentage. As a result, there is a paradoxical situation: the one who has and receives more pays paltry amounts to the state treasury. Such financial policy favorable for Russian (and not only) businessmen naturally arises protests of the local population.

Why Swiss watches were branded as smart - because such quality as reliability is inherent to them; why Swiss banking system is considered as first-class all over the world - for reliability. A Swiss bank is a reliable bank. This expression is not an axiom, but a "cheesy", "cliche" stamp. The reasons for such trust in financial institutions of the confederation should be sought in the very history of the Swiss banking system.

The paradox is that Switzerland, being one of the world's major financial centers, which national currency has been maintaining its stability for a century, historically does not belong to the number of banking pioneers. The homeland of banks was Venice (a city-state then), then the scope of activities of these financial institutions expanded to Austria, Italy and spread throughout Europe. And until the middle of the XIX century the system began to take root and grow in the Swiss territory.

The first bank - Banque Cantonale Vaodoise - appeared in 1845. Today it is part of the TOP-5 of the country and gives primacy only to Zurcher Kantonal – the bank, which appeared a little bit later - in 1870. Over time, all cantonal banks merged into a supersystem- Swiss Banking Corporation, which, by the end of the XX century, entered a reputable holding, which today provides financial services of all kinds to the whole world.

Swiss banks will never fail and will not announce of their financial insolvency by definition. The secret of the stability and reliability is in the fact that the way that has been originally selected by them is markedly different from financial strategies of "colleagues". Today, the services provided by banks of the Confederation, are not quite standard: the basis of the fiscal policy is non-attraction of depositors and non-lending against security, as it is practiced by universal banks. Of course, Swiss banks receive a lot of money, but they do not promise depositors great interest, but practice the so-called trust management, i.e. they charge only a very small interest of the total amount of money (about 0.75%) for conducting trust operations (for example, investment in projects that exclude risks, or transactions with securities). In this case, all the proceeds from transactions go directly to account holders. And low percentage is compensated by huge amounts that "spin" in the system - at least 2 trillion US dollars.

In addition, there are at least three fundamental and undeniable benefits, which "hold" the whole Swiss banking system:

  • Swiss banks do not depend on the current system of taxation, and all income from banking operations come to depositors in a "pure" form;
  • unspoken rule is under any circumstances not to disclose information about a contribution and its owner - "banking secrecy";
  • Information security (meaning perfect megabit IT coding of information).

"Flexibility" of the tax system, and absolute confidence in the banks is not the only reason for the "mass" resettlement of Russian businessmen close to the Alps. And the syndrome of "Swiss-mania" has affected not only the hearts and minds of rich and successful people. People that are more ordinary also strive to Switzerland: ambitions are different, the final goal is the same. How does this unicum patriae, not so rich in natural resources, allow holding the highest lines of the rating tables for so long? Of course, we do not have in mind the indicators that are annually/monthly published in countless numbers, but the degree of popularity of everything connected with the country, in the minds of millions. We can talk for a long time about a favorable climate, the purest air, landscapes of miraculous beauty and emerald waters of the lakes, but it is unlikely to be a valid reason for a "global" migration of peoples. They go to Switzerland to study, go to work, go to stay, and tourists go – they go to Switzerland for QUALITY!

The very definition of "quality" has long ago become a synonym of the adjective "Swiss". Swiss cheese, Swiss watches, Swiss bank, Swiss chocolate ... SWISS QUALITY OF LIFE!

According to the life quality index, Switzerland ... Continue reading ->