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UBS pulls back curtain on U.S. accounts

Stephen Beard Feb 19, 2009
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UBS pulls back curtain on U.S. accounts

Stephen Beard Feb 19, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: When I say Swiss bank, you probably think secrecy. Discretion has been a banking tradition in Switzerland since the Middle Ages. But as part of its legal settlement with the U.S. government, Swiss banking giant UBS has agreed to pull back that curtain as early as today. Our European correspondent Stephen Beard reports.


Stephen Beard: Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS has, settled a long-running tax case with the U.S. authorities. The bank admits that it helped wealthy American customers hide their money from the IRS. The bank is paying $780 million in penalties. And, reports say, the bank will identify 250 Americans with undeclared accounts.

Jeff Goldfarb is with the financial Web site Breaking Views. He says this is a major breakthrough in the battle against tax evasion:

Jeff Goldfarb: It is sort of a big chunk of 250 names at once. That is substantial in the context of secrecy in Switzerland and banking.

Nevertheless U.S. tax officials have some way to go. They claim that 17,000 Americans have stashed a total of $20 billion in undeclared accounts at UBS.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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