Swiss minister says US insists on UBS tax deal – paper

February 11, 2010

ZURICH, Feb 11 (Reuters) – The Swiss government will probably have to turn to parliament to resolve a legal impasse threatening a deal struck with the United States to hand over data from UBS AG clients, a minister was quoted as saying.

The Swiss government had raised the option of parliament retroactively approving the deal, involving UBS clients suspected of dodging taxes, after a Swiss court ruled in favour of a UBS client seeking to prevent her account data from being given to the U.S. tax agency.

But the government’s preferred solution has so far been to negotiate a way out, hoping the United States would drop the issue if more than 10,000 UBS clients had turned themselves in voluntarily.

“I assume today that parliament has to get involved,” Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told Swiss daily Blick in an interview published on Thursday.

“The United States insist that we stick to the fundamentals of the agreement. This means they want the some 4,500 sets of client data, which refer to cases of severe tax evasion and tax fraud,” she said.

Only some of a total 14,000 clients who have turned themselves in voluntarily to U.S. authorities are UBS clients, Widmer-Schlumpf said when asked if not enough UBS clients have turned themselves in, without giving a detailed number.

A spokesman for the justice ministry said talks with U.S. authorities were continuing, also declining to provide further details. (Reporting by Sven Egenter) ((; +41.58.306.7351; Reuters Messaging:

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