Investigations: Swiss Numbers Game

As chairman of the House Banking and Currency Committee, Texas Democrat Wright Patman has made a career of jousting with U.S. bankers. Last week he thrust at their Swiss counterparts, whose secret subterranean vaults have long been the world's principal haven for nervous money—accounts whose owners are not anxious to admit ownership. After two days of public hearings, Patman called for legislation making it illegal for Americans to deal with any foreign bank that does not allow inspection of its records by U.S. regulatory agencies.

Patman's probe focused on that mystique-shrouded feature of Swiss banking,...

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