Ever wanted a Swiss bank account?

In David Mamet's 1997 movie The Spanish Prisoner, a con man played by Steve Martin establishes a numbered Swiss bank account with a few keystrokes on a laptop computer in New York. The new account belongs not to him but to his flattered victim.

"All of 15 Swiss francs in it," Martin's character modestly tells his naive mark. "But you ever want to impress anybody, they can find out you have a Swiss account -- but Swiss law prohibits the bank from revealing the balance.

"Thus," he adds after a portentous pause, "are all men created equal."

That bit of dialogue makes Francois Micheloud laugh. "No, no, no," the Swiss account broker says. "You can't open an account online." He shakes his head good-naturedly as he talks from his office in Lausanne. He laments that movies give the impression that Switzerland is a "no-questions-asked country."

Swiss banks aren't only for spies


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