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Swiss bank secrecy may be damaged

Stephen Beard Aug 17, 2009
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Swiss bank secrecy may be damaged

Stephen Beard Aug 17, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Switzerland’s biggest bank, UBS, will hand over the names of thousands of American clients to settle a tax evasion case — that’s the latest from Swiss press reports. Tax experts say the case has damaged one of Switzerland’s most prized possessions — bank secrecy. From London Stephen Beard has more.


Stephen Beard: The United States and UBS are expected to reveal the details of the settlement later this week. But two Swiss newspapers claim they have a pretty good idea about the deal. They say that UBS will hand over the names of up to 5,000 American account holders suspected of dodging taxes.

Switzerland is insisting that the deal does not require it to change its domestic law, so its bank secrecy remains intact. Stephen Platt, a London based lawyer, is skeptical about that claim.

Stephen PLATT: It’s slightly disingenuous to say that banking secrecy remains intact at the same time that you’re handing over the details of 5,000 account holders.

The U.S. had been seeking the names of 52,000 American account holders. It reportedly settled for less because it was worried about pushing UBS over the edge, and triggering another financial crisis.

In London this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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