Crunch parliamentary vote on UBS-US case on Tuesday

10th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Switzerland faces a crunch vote Tuesday when lawmakers are due to decide whether to endorse a tax evasion deal with the United States implicating banking giant UBS, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

The lawmakers of the lower chamber of parliament, who voted against the deal this week, is expected to begin their debate on "Tuesday at 8 am (0600GMT)," said the spokeswoman.

Switzerland, the United States and UBS agreed in August 2009 that the bank would identify 4,450 US clients suspected of tax evasion, after US authorities filed lawsuits to force the bank to hand over information.

The deal needed to be endorsed by both houses of the Federal Assembly after a Swiss supreme court ruling in January called its legal basis in Switzerland into question.

The lower house had rejected the document in a first vote this week, while the senate had already endorsed the accord twice. Tuesday's decision by the lower chamber would mark the final step on the issue.

However, even if the accord is endorsed by parliament, Swiss citizens can still push for a nationwide referendum if 50,000 signatures in favour of such a vote can be collected within 100 days.

In a note to clients, Bank Helvea said that UBS chief financial officer John Cryan told around 30 analysts in London that he expected the accord to be passed by parliament.

"It was reassuring to hear his optimism about the US/UBS cross border case, if not unexpected," said Peter Thorne, Bank Helvea's analyst.

© 2010 AFP

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