Canada presses UBS for client details

4th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Canadian tax officials press UBS for information on two Canadians on a list of alleged tax evaders, a top official said Thursday.

Ottawa -- Canadian tax officials are pressing UBS for information on two Canadians thought to be on a list of 4,500 account holders investigated by US authorities for alleged tax evasion, a top official said Thursday.

"We started discussions about two Canadians who are on the client lists UBS handed over to the United States, and we are continuing to seek more answers," Canada's Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn told AFP.

The talks were "productive and constructive," he said after a first meeting Wednesday between the Canada Revenue Agency lawyers and UBS. A second round of talks with UBS is scheduled for Friday.

Blackburn urged Canadians who have so far neglected to pay their taxes to present information during a current amnesty for tax delinquents, in order to avoid prosecution.

"It's a matter of time. We will end up getting our hands on the list and the names contained in it, and we will do checks," he said.

The talks between UBS and the Canada Revenue Agency come after a landmark deal in August between the United States and the Swiss banking giant, which ended a lawsuit over access to client records.

Blackburn said in August that Ottawa does not know how many Canadians are using tax havens to avoid declaring their taxable income.

Thursday, he reaffirmed his department's intentions to use all available legal tools to force UBS to reveal Canadians hiding funds offshore, noting Canada and Switzerland have an accord for such disclosures.

"Should the current level of cooperation stop, we will use all legal means to obtain information on Canadians' offshore accounts," he said.

AFP / Expatica

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