My friend Clare O’Dea is a dual citizen like me, but Swiss-Irish instead of Swiss-American. She’s also a writer of fiction and non-fiction and (unlike me) a professional journalist. A few weeks ago, she interviewed me for Switzerland’s version of an English-language online newsletter called The Local, which she writes for regularly. The article is meant to address Switzerland’s dark side, which—as a crime writer—I should be an expert on, at least in theory. So far, however, I haven’t written a book based on an actual Swiss murder, so I had to do some research to answer Clare’s questions. That was interesting for me.
I thought Clare did a very good job on the article, and I’m grateful to her for giving my upcoming book Sons and Brothers a nice plug. I’ve already posted the piece on Facebook and Twitter, but I thought I’d share it with you as well, dear blog-followers, so here it is.
What Clare and I don’t talk about in the article, since it’s old news, is Switzerland’s truly dark side, which is its immoral banking practices. Everyone knows about them, none better than we Swiss ourselves. Still, many Swiss don’t want laws passed—and strictly enforced—that will reign in the banks. After all, it isn’t just Latin American drug lords, foreign dictators, and Russian oligarchs who profit from being able to hide their accounts, launder money, avoid taxes, and take advantage of all the other shady practices that Swiss banks allow and in some cases encourage. Plenty of Swiss benefit from these policies as well.
But that’s a topic for another post.
The lead photograph of soccer hooligans was taken by Laurent Gillieron for Keystone
2 thoughts on “Little Known Facts about Paradise”
Very interesting, Kim. I have known that Swiss banks are corrupt but I haven’t thought much about Swiss’s feelings and reactions to it. It is disturbing; I agree. There are so many, many things in the US that are equally disturbing and the attitude of caring about them and speaking up, or not caring, or not caring enough to speak up, or being in favor of something immoral polarize us so much.
I wrote those words about the banks on Sunday afternoon, and Sunday evening the president of the Swiss Federal Council (our executive branch) announced that UBS was swallowing Credit Suisse to keep it from totally collapsing. (These are Switzerland’s two biggest banks, both with a large international presence.) During the past twenty years, at least, Credit Suisse has lurched from one scandal to another, and our parliament hasn’t passed a single law to limit the potential damage. And now our comeuppance has come!