The upper and lower houses of the Swiss Parliament have ratified a deal between the Swiss and U.S. governments to share information on approximately 4,450 U.S.-based customers of Swiss bank UBS with the U.S. government.
The lower house had voted earlier this week to approve the deal, a week after rejecting it, on the condition that the deal first be submitted to a nationwide voter referendum (see Swiss Lower House Votes in Favor of UBS Deal and Swiss Lower House Rejects UBS Deal). The upper house approved the deal earlier this month without requiring a referendum (see Swiss Legislators Support U.S. Tax Deal).
The two chambers voted Thursday to approve the deal without requiring a referendum, which would have delayed the handover of information beyond the August 2010 deadline in the original deal.
The Swiss and U.S. governments agreed last August for UBS to turn over information on up to 4,450 of its U.S.-based account holders, but a Swiss court later ruled against the agreement, saying it violated the countrys banking secrecy laws and would need to be ratified by the Swiss Parliament.
UBS welcomes todays Swiss parliamentary approval of the U.S.-Swiss government agreement, said UBS in a statement. This vote is an important step to support the resolution at the governmental level. UBS continues to focus on its comprehensive and timely compliance with all obligations under its separate settlement agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and is confident that this will be achieved by the relevant deadlines in August 2010.
UBS signed a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department in February 2009, agreeing to pay $780 million in fines, penalties, interest and restitution. However, the Internal Revenue Service subsequently sued UBS, seeking information on approximately 52,000 UBS account holders based in the U.S. before the two governments agreed to a deal last August involving 4,450 accounts. Several former UBS clients have since pleaded guilty to tax charges.
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