Peeking into Those Swiss Vaults

Loosening the bank-secrecy laws in cases of insider trading

"This is a historic occasion," proclaimed Securities and Exchange Commissioner Barbara Thomas. "What we have done is got the Swiss to cooperate with us to help fight insider trading and preserve the integrity of international banking. I'm elated."

Thomas had good reason for elation. After six months of negotiation, the U.S. and Swiss governments last week jointly announced an agreement that will make it harder for criminals to hide behind Switzerland's strict banking-secrecy laws. The accord marks the first time that Swiss authorities have agreed to cooperate in tracking down those who break U.S....

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