Swiss to hand over US names of wealthy UBS clients

November 17, 2009

UBS/TAX   By Jason Rhodes
   BERNE, Nov 17 (Reuters) – Switzerland will hand over the names of wealthy U.S. clients of UBS <UBSN.VX> suspected of tax evasion or fraud, to settle a bitter row that cut through bank secrecy and threatened to bring the bank to its knees.
   The Swiss Justice Department said it will hand over the names of wealthy U.S. clients of UBS with accounts holding over 1 million Swiss francs ($986,200).
  Switzerland agreed in August to reveal the names of about 4,450 wealthy American clients of UBS to U.S. authorities and process requests for information from other banks about account holders suspected of evading U.S. taxes. [ID:nLJ718259]
  The submission of information on clients suspected of dodging U.S. taxes by stashing away money in secret accounts, promises to end years of investigation and uncertainty for UBS.
   Having solved the tax row, UBS on Tuesday set an ambitious target for annual pretax profit of $15 billion, vowing to rebuild the loss-making bank and win back clients after the subprime crisis and U.S. tax row. [ID:nLG354725]
   Submission of data to U.S. authorities applies to UBS accounts held between 2001 and 2008 by U.S. citizens resident in the United States.
   Switzerland may claim its banking secrecy remains intact, but some private bankers say it is no longer a selling point for its banks, which will need to offer other skills like wealth management and legacy planning to attract clients.
   The country will also hand over the names of  U.S. citizens holding offshore company accounts with UBS if they are suspected of tax fraud or similar, regardless of whether they were resident in the U.S. or elsewhere.
   The threshold for account holders suspected of knowingly providing U.S. tax authorities with false information or setting up vehicles to dodge tax is 250,000 francs.
   (Editing by Erica Billingham)
   ((jason.rhodes@thomsonreuters.com; +41 58 306 7312; Reuters Messaging: jason.rhodes.reuters.com@reuters.com))
 Keywords: UBS/TAX 
  
  Keywords: UBS/TAX 
  
Tuesday, 17 November 2009 14:51:42RTRS [nLH355671 ] {C}ENDS

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