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Tense times for rich Americans with Swiss accounts

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Tense times for rich Americans with Swiss accounts


The Swiss bank UBS is to reveal the names of 5,000 of its wealthiest American account holders to the US government. Washington had initially requested 52,000 names of Americans with accounts at the bank. UBS will reportedly not have to pay a US fine concerning possible complicity in fiscal fraud.

Meeting in Washington last Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey said they were pleased with the preliminary agreement. It is expected to be finalized by next Friday. The last minute deal averted a major diplomatic clash between the US and Switzerland which enjoys a tradition of bank secrecy. It also narrowly prevented a high noon showdown in a Miami court on Monday over bank secrecy and tax evasion. It was not clear if Clinton and Calmy-Rey had helped broker the deal that was hammered out by government officials. In passing along the data to the US, the Swiss government stretched its bank laws to the limit without formally violating its laws. Some tax lawyers see the case as a serious blow to Switzerland’s renowned bank secrecy.

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