Thursday, June 17, 2010

Swiss Parliament sides with I.R.S. in deal to expose potential tax evaders

The Swiss Parliament agreed today to uphold an August 2009 arrangement with the United States, whereby UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, would disclose information on 4,500 accounts held by Americans suspected of tax evasion.

Lynnley Browning of The New York Times reports that “The parliamentary approval was a watershed moment in the history of Swiss private banking, whose tradition of client confidentiality goes back centuries.”

The decision, which represents months of legal and diplomatic efforts, will likely be used as a template to pursue tax fraud and tax evasion perpetrated in conjunction with other banks in Switzerland, such as Credit Suisse and HSBC, as well as operations in such burgeoning tax havens as Hong Kong and Singapore.