Monday, February 8, 2010

UBS Deal Collapses?

"A Swiss court ruled Friday that Swiss authorities may not disclose the account details of a wealthy American who used UBS's private bank to evade American taxes. The ruling, by the Swiss federal administrative court, threatens to open fresh legal challenges from American prosecutors of the Swiss banking giant UBS in what has become a protracted dispute between the two countries. It threatens to topple an agreement reached last August between Switzerland and the [DOJ] that requires Swiss tax authorities to disclose to the [IRS] the names of 4,450 American clients of UBS suspected of evading [US] taxes. ... Should the suit be revived, it could also jeopardize a separate deal last February in which UBS averted indictment by agreeing to pay $780 million to the [US] government and admitting criminal wrongdoing in the offshore private banking services it sold to wealthy Americans. ... In a statement, the IRS said Friday that 'We have every expectation that the Swiss government will continue to honor the terms of the agreement.' ... Friday's ruling is the second by a Swiss court to challenge the disclosure of client names. On Thursday, Swiss regulators said they would appeal a separate ruling by a Swiss court that said the Swiss regulators broke secrecy laws when they authorized UBS to hand over the names of 255 clients as part of the $780 million deal last February. The Swiss regulatory agency, Finma, said Thursday that it handed over the names because the possibility of an indictment of UBS 'would have threatened its existence'," Lynnley Browning (LB) at the NYT, 23 January 2010, link:

"The Swiss government on Wednesday backed off an agreement with the [US] that required it to hand over the names of wealthy American clients of the Swiss bank UBS who were suspected of tax evasion. ... The Swiss cabinet said it might put the disclosure of the names up for approval before the Swiss parliament--but only if if received detailed information from the [IRS] on how many UBS clients had come forward under a voluntary disclosure program that ended in November. ... IRS officials said Wednesday that Switzerland needed to hew to the August deal. 'We expect the Swiss government ot continue to honor the terms of the agreement,' the agency said in a statement. The [DOJ] declined to comment. ... Kevin E. Packman, a tax lawyer at Holand & Knight in Miami, said that the Swiss courts 'have put UBS and, so some extent the Swiss government in an uncomfortable position. I suspect that if the courts don't cooperate with the government to find a solution, things are going to get really ugly for UBS", LB at the NYT, 28 January 2010, link:

The Swiss buckle to the IRS, when they wouldn't to Adolph Hitler. Wow. That's clout. The Swiss should have told the IRS, "Indict UBS. Fair enough. We'll indict Citigroup and raise you a Vampire Squid (VS). Your turn".

No problem. Invade Switzerland! Wait, even Hitler didn't do that. I have a better idea for the Swiss. Threaten to indict Citigroup and VS for violating Swiss banking laws. I'm sure if the Swiss regulators look, they'll find something.


Anonymous said...

The Germans seem to be letting the free markets work...

From the New York Times...

"Germany’s finance minister warned German tax evaders Wednesday that they risked punishment if their names were found on a CD the government is buying that contains information about Swiss bank customers.

The mysterious case of the CD, which the government is purchasing from a secret informant, has gripped Germany since news of its existence first leaked out on Saturday. Despite disagreement within her own party, Chancellor Angela Merkel said this week that the government should acquire the CD from the unidentified informant, who has asked for $3.5 million in exchange for the information on 1,500 individuals with secret accounts."

Independent Accountant said...

We'll see if Switzerland ups the ante and makes release of such CDs a felony punishable by life in prison.


Dallas CPA said...

This is insane as it gets. Do we have people putting a fight with this issue? Please list their names everywhere possible.

And for the Swiss government, enough with protecting criminals.

Anonymous said...

In an effort to stimulate the overall economy and R&G Brenner, as well help particular sectors that have been hard hit in the recent downturn, there are a lot of tax changes that have been implemented for 2009 and 2010 that taxpayers should be familiar with. If the taxpayer is using a professional tax preparation service, the service should be aware of all of the new changes, but otherwise it is up to the taxpayer to find out about them.