Friday, May 01, 2009

Swiss banks

Yet another example of the US government thinking that somehow, someway, their laws, regulations, wants and needs somehow apply to another country!

Please visit for the rest of Sarah's excellent report!

Swiss bank tries to keep secrets
2009-04-30 21:56:00

banking giant UBS AG said turning over to the IRS the names of thousands of wealthy Americans who might be withholding billions in income from U.S. taxes would violate Swiss law and undermine international relations, according to a court brief filed Thursday.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has sued UBS to try and force the bank to turn over information about 52,000 account holders the agency says have an estimated US$14.8 billion in assets and are using Swiss bank secrecy to shield the money. UBS asked that a Miami federal judge deny the IRS petition.

"There can be no question that the Swiss interest in enforcement of its financial privacy laws is strong and legitimate," the filing states. "In contrast to some other countries' financial privacy laws, the laws of Switzerland impose criminal, as opposed to merely civil, liability on those responsible for violations."

(my comment on this...)
Her report goes on to document the idiocy of trying to get a Miami judge to sue Swiss banks to get them to divulge the names and amounts of money kept in the Swiss bank accounts. So how did this all happen? Well, when a bunch of banks went on the auction block last year, the Swiss bank UBS AG bought the accounts. Now who owns the accounts, and what is in them is pretty much a Swiss matter! It was ever thus. The Internal Revenue Service figures this was a money hiding scheme by the bankers who were going under, and maybe the UBS bankers themselves who probably met with the account holders and informed them that henceforth your banking information is protected under Swiss law. The IRS figures that since they don't know what or who has the accounts, they are possibly evidence of tax evasion. And they are probably right! But...its a Swiss bank so tough nooggies.

Sarah's report continues....
February's lawsuit followed an agreement in which the Justice Department would defer criminal prosecution of UBS in exchange for the identities of up to 300 U.S. customers and payment by the bank of $780 million. That deal did not cover the list of 52,000 names now sought.
Government officials could not be reached for comment late Thursday.