The U.S. and Swiss governments have reportedly reached an agreement on the secret bank accounts of U.S. citizens that the IRS has been seeking from UBS.
UBS and Switzerlands Federal Department of Justice and Police announced the agreement in principle on Friday, but did not provide details, pending a conference among the parties that has been scheduled for August 7. However, according to reports in Swiss newspapers, UBS would provide information on only 5,000 of its clients. The IRS had been seeking information on 52,000 U.S.-based clients of UBS by issuing John Doe summonses.
Under the deal, the bank would not be required to pay an extra fine, according to Swiss newspaper reports. UBS had agreed in February to pay $780 million and to turn over the names of about 300 clients as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department. But the bank claimed it could not turn over details on the other accounts without violating Swiss banking secrecy laws. The Swiss government threatened to seize the documents if UBS attempted to turn them over to U.S. authorities.
A stay in the court proceedings in Miami was granted on July 13 as the various sides struggled to work out a compromise, and the next court date is now scheduled for August 10. However, there are still sticking points that need to be resolved.
I am optimistic that an agreement can be reached, Swiss justice minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told the Swiss newspaper Sonntag, according to Reuters. There are still details to be cleared, which are of importance to us. Should we not reach an agreement which is in line with our Swiss laws, a deal would be put into question.
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