Swiss file complaint after bribe claim

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Tax authorities in Switzerland on Wednesday filed a legal complaint following allegations of bribery in a US tax evasion case.

Zurich -- Tax authorities in Switzerland on Wednesday filed a legal complaint following allegations that a senior Swiss official took a USD 45,000 (CHF 48,850) bribe in a US tax evasion case.

The move followed a report that a US businessman, Jeffrey Chernick, told US authorities that a "high-ranking Swiss government official" received the bribe in 2008 in return for information about whether Chernick was on a list of US bank clients at Swiss bank UBS that was eventually given to US authorities.

A senior official at the Federal Taxation Administration, Roger Braunschweig, told AFP that the complaint against persons unknown was filed following the report in the New York Times.

"We lodged the complaint with the Federal Prosecutor's Office," Braunschweig said.

"We take the suspicions seriously," he added.

The bribe was allegedly paid by an unnamed former UBS executive who was then working for another private Swiss bank, the New York Times reported, citing prosecution documents filed in a Federal District Court in Florida.

Chernick is facing charges of filing a fraudulent tax return in the United States, after pleading guilty to concealing more than USD 8 million in accounts in Swiss banks, according to the newspaper.

US authorities have also reportedly broadened their investigation into tax evasion by US clients at UBS to another smaller private bank in Zurich, which was not named, the New York Times said.

Media reports said a US judge was set to extend the postponement of a lawsuit seeking to force UBS to reveal the identities of thousands of US clients with offshore accounts.

The judge agreed earlier in July to a request from the US and Swiss governments as well as UBS to postpone the start of the trial until 3 August to give all parties time to negotiate a settlement.

AFP / Expatica

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