Swiss bank UBS, which has “admitted conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and agreed to pay $780 million to settle a sweeping federal investigation into its activities,” has agreed to release the names of Americans who have been secreting away cash in UBS’ fabled Swiss bank accounts. The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating about 19,000 accounts, but the New York Times says the bank may only release a couple hundred names. Update: Now the IRS has asked a judge to demand that UBS turn over the names of around 52,000 clients. UBS says it will “vigorously challenge” the new request.
UBS has admitted that it worked in cahoots—in cahoots!—with its American customers to defraud the U.S. government, going so far as to encourage them to hide valuables in Swiss safe deposit boxes and use Swiss credit cards to evade the IRS. It seems they finally agreed to turn over the names to avoid indictment, which would have been disastrous for the bank.
It’s unclear what will happen next when the names are released, but Marketwatch reported that the IRS plans to go after the American citizens who have used UBS accounts to avoid paying taxes:
“These taxpayers should note that today’s agreement states that the U.S. Government will continue to seek enforcement of the summons,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement.
“People who have hidden unreported income off shore need to get right with their government,” he added.
“A Swiss Bank Is Set to Open Its Secret Files” [New York Times]
“UBS to pay $780 million in tax conspiracy case” [Marketwatch]
“UBS pressed for 52,000 names in 2nd inquiry” [International Herald Tribune]