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US and Switzerland close to tax evasion deal

10 Jun 2011, 12:54

Published: 10 Jun 2011 13:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Jun 2011 12:54 GMT+02:00

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US authorities are reportedly about to close a deal with Swiss banks over American tax dodgers – in exchange for billions of dollars in penalties, the US will stop investigations into the banks.



Three anonymous current and former US government officials told the Reuters news agency that the banks will also turn over the names of suspected tax evaders to the US justice department and tax authorities. 

It was not immediately clear which banks will be affected by the deal, but it is thought that some European banks are also included in it. The government officials believe the banks could be forced to pay a combined penalty of several billion dollars.

The deal is apparently similar to the one made between the US and UBS in 2009, when the giant Swiss bank handed over 780 million francs (over $900 million) and provided the names of about 4,500 suspected tax evaders. The US had accused UBS of helping rich Americans commit tax fraud.

Following the UBS agreement, US authorities declared repeatedly that they would investigate other Swiss and European financial institutions to find out whether they helped US citizens to evade taxes.

The details of this deal are yet to be negotiated, but a final agreement is expected to be drawn up in July. Banks that don't sign up could face charges and intensive investigations.

In the past few months, Credit Suisse employees, some of whom used to work for UBS, have been arrested in the US in connection with tax evasion investigations. Credit Suisse denies any wrongdoing.

The Local/bk


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