Bern denies umbrella tax evasion deal with US
A government spokesman denied on Tuesday that Switzerland was close to a deal covering the country's entire financial sector that would finally settle a dispute with Washington over US citizens' undeclared assets in Swiss banks.
Mario Tuor, a Swiss finance department spokesman, told AFP that a report posted on the website of the country's public broadcaster RTS was misplaced.
"We can't confirm anything," Tuor told AFP, underlining that the process was still ongoing.
"But the bulk of this article is completely false," he added.
RTS claimed that the government was due later Tuesday to evaluate a deal covering the whole of Switzerland's financial sector, and not just the dozen banks initially in the US tax authorities' line of fire.
The broadcaster said that the deal included a fine to be paid in one go by all the banks involved, thought to be worth several billion francs.
In addition, the deal would bind Swiss authorities to hand over the details of US citizens' with assets in Switzerland to their homeland's tax authorities.
Switzerland's long-held banking secrecy rules have gradually been weakened over recent years as crisis-struck countries press the Alpine nation to reveal details of citizens suspected of tax evasion who place their assets here.
Any deal would require not only Swiss government approval, but also the backing of parliament.