Regrettably, one suspects most US voters approve of this sort of appalling overreach by their central government.
Last week saw the criminal sentencing in the US of Bank Wegelin, Switzerland’s oldest bank, founded in 1741. The sentencing marks one of the final chapters of the bank’s 272 year history, which will have to shut down as a result of the case.
Wegelin was the first foreign bank in history to be indicted for assisting US citizens to evade taxes, the first to plead guilty, and then the first to be sentenced. Wegelin incorrectly assumed that since it did not have any branches outside of Switzerland and complied with Swiss law, it was in the clear and out of the reach of the long arm of Uncle Sam.
Wegelin was wrong.
To illustrate the brazen overreach of this case, it helps to see it from another perspective.
Imagine if China were the world’s dominant financial power instead of the US, enabling it to enforce its will and trample over the sovereignty of everyone else. Imagine that there were a group of Chinese citizens who banked with BNY Mellon (Bank of New York is the oldest bank in the US), that the bank had no branches outside of the US, and that it complied with all US laws. Suppose that through their business with BNY Mellon this group of Chinese citizens were breaking some draconian financial laws in China, but again complied with all US laws. In reaction to this, imagine if the Chinese government were to then seize BNY Mellon’s assets, criminally indict the bank and its employees, and effectively shutdown the oldest bank in the United States.