US tax probe could spell end to secret accounts

 US tax probe could spell end to secret accounts
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An American probe into offshore banking could herald the end of secret Swiss accounts, after UBS agreed to stop offering its services to residents of the United States.

The Chief Financial Officer of UBS, Mark Branson, told a congressional hearing into alleged tax fraud that the bank would co-operate with the US government inquiry.

“I am here to make absolutely clear that UBS genuinely regrets any compliance failures that may have occurred,” Branson said. “We will take responsibility for them. We will not seek to minimise them. On behalf of UBS, I am apologising. I am committing to you
that we will take the actions necessary to see that this does not happen again.”

The hearings follow a six-month investigation into tax practices at UBS and Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank.

It found that both had helped US clients avoid taxes by hiding assets via complex offshore banking structures. UBS said its advisors will no longer be allowed to travel to the US to meet its American clients.

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