Swiss opponents of tax deals fail to gain support

GENEVA -- Opponents of Switzerland's tax agreements with Germany, Austria and Britain have failed to gather enough signatures needed to hold three popular referendums that could have defeated the deals.

Swiss Federal Chancellor Corina Casanova said Tuesday that opponents fell between 1,500 and 3,000 votes short for each of the three proposed referendums for Nov. 25.

Switzerland's traditional banking secrecy has come under fire as it tries to shed its image as an uncooperative tax haven by making deals such as the one with Germany, which would receive billions of euros from Switzerland in return for dropping a demand to get the names of suspected tax cheats.

The tax deal with Berlin has yet to be ratified because Germany's opposition parties are blocking the legislation, hoping to renegotiate more favorable conditions.