Swiss Parliament recommends UBS accounts be handed to US

4 June 2010

A Swiss Parliamentary committee has recommended that UBS hand over details of account holders to settle a potential law suit against the bank.

The accounts belong to almost 4,500 US UBS customers suspected of using the bank to avoid paying tax.

Reports claim that the lower house of the Swiss Parliament is due to hold a debate while some commentators have also called for a public referendum on the matter, which would see Swiss secrecy laws changed if the accounts were to be published.

A referendum is expected to delay a potential agreement being made by several months.

Simonetta Sommaruga, a Social Democratic lawmaker, who was quoted by Bloomberg, said: “The fact is that if UBS has a problem, Switzerland has a problem too.

“That’s why we have to help out UBS with this settlement. A rejection would cause considerable damage to the economy.”

The US authorities launched legal action against UBS during February of 2009, claiming that the bank had helped as many as 50,000 clients avoid paying tax through its accounting system.

However, the government agreed to abandon suing UBS in return for the disclosure of the details of a number of clients.

By Jim Ottewill

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