US breaches Switzerland's banking citadel; UBS to reveal 4,450 names
The US yesterday used a sledgehammer to break into Switzerland's famed iron-clad banking secrecy laws by managing to squeeze out 4,450 names of wealthy Americans who held secret offshore accounts with Swiss bank UBS.
Breaching the well guarded citadel of Switzerland's secretive banking system that has helped make its banking industry one of the richest in the world and a major source of Swiss wealth, Washington went into a victory lap over its win on tax evaders.
The US has now signalled that it would go after other foreign banks as well as individuals, who have evaded paying taxes in the US by holding offshore or unaccounted accounts.
The two countries signed an agreement yesterday, under which the US will drop a lawsuit filed in a Miami court in exchange for Switzerland agreeing to reveal and hand over data of 4,450 Americans holding offshore accounts with UBS.
Although it was a climb-down for the US, which had been demanding that UBS reveal 52,000 client names, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) now say that it did not expect the Swiss government to agree to a number as large as 4,450.