Swiss, US wrap up UBS tax evasion deal

16th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

Swiss authorities said on Tuesday that some 4,000 case files on American clients of UBS were handed over to the United States, after Washington dropped a summons against the bank over tax evasion.

The United States and Switzerland had agreed to prolong the handover into the autumn under a deal to avert Washington's threatened lawsuit against one of Switzerland's biggest banks.

The Swiss finance ministry said in a statement that the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) "fully and definitively withdrew the John Doe Summons against UBS on 15 November 2010."

"Overall, approximately 4,000 cases have been supplied to the United States to date," it added.

Information on more accounts might be delivered to Washington depending on the outcome of pending appeals in Switzerland, the ministry said.

The handover, which marked a softening of Switzerland's coveted banking secrecy, is the cornerstone of an accord the two governments struck in August 2009 to avert further damaging action against UBS.

US tax authorities had started their offensive against UBS in 2008 after questioning a former banker, prosecuting the bank through US courts and forcing it to pay a 780-million-dollar fine and hand over client names.

© 2010 AFP

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