Swiss Banking and particularly Swiss Private Banking offers anonymity in many banking sectors.
Swiss Private Bank Services include: Private wealth management, private individual banking, trust formations, company formation, asset protection, investment strategies, and tax solution strategies.
Swiss bank secrecy does protect the privacy of bank clients; the protections afforded under Swiss law are similar to confidentiality protections between doctors and patients or lawyers and their clients. The Swiss government views the right toprivacy as a fundamental principle that should be protected by all democratic countries. While privacy is protected, in practice all bank accounts are linked to an identified individual. Moreover, the bank secrecy is not absolute. It does not protect terrorist or criminals from prosecution since a prosecutor or judge may issue a "lifting order" in order to grant law enforcement access to information relevant to a criminal investigation.
Swiss Banks and World War II
Several inquiries have been made into the conduct of Swiss banks during the Nazi Germany period (1933–1945), especially regarding funds deposited by or stolen from victims of the Holocaust. The campaign causing the highest outlays ($1.25 billion in 1999) on the part of the Swiss banking industry as of 2009 was the World Jewish Congress lawsuit against Swiss banks launched by Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, in concert with US Senator Alfonse d'Amato of New York.
In October 1996, as this campaign was underway, Swiss ambassador to the United States Carlo Jagmetti admitted that some banks prevented Holocaust survivors from accessing their funds, although he disputed the amounts claimed in lawsuits by survivors. Union Bank of Switzerland security guard Christoph Meili became a prominent whistleblower when he removed Holocaust-era records from the bank and alleged that records of accounts of Holocaust victims were being destroyed (see main article on Meili).
In 1998, an international panel of historians released a study that claimed a significant amount of gold had been stolen from Holocaust victims, as well as the treasuries of conquered countries, and deposited in the Swiss National Bank. The panel found that, despite evidence of theft and wrongful acquisition of the gold, the SNB continued to accept the deposits. In 2000, Judge Edward R. Korman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York approved a US$1.25 billion settlement between several Swiss banks and the plaintiffs, a group of Jewish organizations.
An estimated 50,000 accounts in Switzerland were opened by victims during the Nazi era; some banks refused to make payments to victims' families because of the lack of death certificates. However, an article published on October 13, 2001 in The Times of London reported that the tribunal entrusted with tracing Holocaust era accounts found that only 200 of the 5,570 abandoned foreign accounts in question, containing about $12 million, could be traced back to Holocaust victims; most of the abandoned accounts were owned by wealthy gentiles, and half the accounts contained less than 1,000 francs.