London mayor warns bankers of Swiss perils

Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:05pm EST
 
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DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - London mayor Boris Johnson appealed to bankers to stay in the City of London and eschew the temptation to move to Switzerland, warning them they could face unexpected perils.

"I'm told there are parts of the Berne Canton where a man may not urinate standing up after 10 p.m. for fear of disturbing the neighbors," Johnson told a reception hosted by Japanese investment bank Nomura in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.

His comments to a room full of bankers followed reports that some hedge funds and investment bankers are deserting London for Switzerland to escape EU regulation or avoid Britain's super-tax on high earners and special levy on bankers' bonuses.

"It is time for the masters of the universe to show they can also be the servants of society," said Johnson, a former journalist and satirical talk-show regular who is now a Conservative politician.

Johnson also trumpeted bankers' higher chances of survival in London than in New York, the world's biggest financial center.

"Despite its murder rate being at an all-time low, you are three times more likely to be murdered in New York than in London," the mayor told the World Economic Forum.

(reporting by Peter Thal Larsen, writing by Paul Taylor, EDiting by Lin Noueihed)