U.K. hunts for Liechtenstein tax evaders

Liechtenstein ruler Prince Alois attends a press conference on the issues of banking secrecy and fighting tax crime in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: We're still waiting to hear what kind of deal will be struck between U.S. officials and that Swiss bank UBS. The United States is not the only country going after tax havens. As Christopher Werth reports, the Brits are signing a deal today to flush out some other wealthy tax evaders.


Christopher Werth: You're not alone if you have a tough time finding Liechtenstein on the map. It's just a tiny Alpine country squeezed between Switzerland and Austria, but it holds billions in secret accounts.

The British government estimates wealthy Britons have nearly $5 billion stashed away there. And as budget deficits rise to extraordinary levels, tax officials want their piece of the pie. They're offering tax dodgers the chance to volunteer their details and pay a penalty, or risk further action.

So, would many wealthy investors take the government up on its offer? Cedric Tille is with the Graduate Institute in Geneva.

CECRIC TILLE: Well if the alternative is to face criminal prosecution, yes. Basically governments need money, much more than they used to. So if you come turn yourself in, you pay a hefty fine, that's the end of it.

Tille questions just how much British officials are likely to reap. Most Liechtenstein account holders are from Germany, which has also been cracking down on the tax haven. Liechtenstein agreed to share tax information with the U.S. late last year.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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