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A trade-off to lift Swiss secrecy laws

The UBS logo hangs outside of a bank branch in Geneva, Switzerland.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: U.S. officials are meeting in Switzerland this morning to hammer out a new tax treaty. The treaty would shed more light on Americans who use Swiss accounts to hide their fortunes from Uncle Sam. Well the Swiss aren't giving up their secrets for nothing, as Christopher Werth reports.


Christopher Werth: In exchange for lifting bank secrecy laws, the Swiss president Hans-Rudolf Merz, is requesting that the U.S. drop its ongoing legal case against UBS, Switzerland¹s largest bank.

U.S. tax officials are hoping to force UBS to hand over the names of over 50,000 possible tax dodgers. The move would be illegal under current Swiss law. Merz said the high profile investigation could derail his efforts to gain approval of the new tax treaty in parliament.

Switzerland agreed to sign up to new standards for sharing tax information just before this month's G20 summit. It was that or land on a blacklist of tax havens. It's been estimated that offshore accounts cost the U.S. about $100 billion in taxes every year.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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