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Europe's Vanishing Tax Havens

Europe's Vanishing Tax Havens

Andy Sacks | Stone | Getty Images

Some of the most famous tax havens in the world are in the heart of Europe, where a history of banking secrecy and a mismatch of tax regimes has created opportunities for large savings.

According to European Union (EU) officials, governments in the region lose around $1 trillion dollars each year because of tax shelters. But this may be about to change. As Europe struggles with recession and austerity, its cash-strapped governments have begun to target the region's tax havens, forcing many countries to open bank accounts to scrutiny.

Government pressure is not the only challenge for these once-legendary locations. The financial hubs of the East are gaining in popularity and, according to a special report by The Economist, Singapore and Hong Kong could overtake Switzerland as the world's top place for offshore banking within 15 years.

Click ahead for a list of Europe's most lucrative tax havens.