The Great Debate UK

from Commentaries:

UBS settlement leaves Switzerland scarred

UBS, Switzerland and the United States can all claim a sort of victory from the settlement on Wednesday of their tax dispute.

UBS gets to avoid a fine that -- according to the Swiss justice minister -- would have threatened its existence. The Americans get the details of some 4,450 accounts that they say have held up to $18 billion, on which fat taxes may be payable. And the Swiss get to draw a line under a threat to their fundamental banking secrecy.

Even so, there will be many who want to keep their financial affairs private who will look for other homes for their cash.

The basics of the deal are as follows. The U.S. will drop its "John Doe" summons that looked for the names of as many as 52,000 Americans with accounts at UBS. This had prompted the Swiss to threaten that they would seize UBS's data rather than accede to what they saw as a fishing expedition that they said would break Swiss law.