Swiss Govt Says Tax Cheats Can Stay Anonymous

The Swiss government has reneged on a deal with the U.S. to disclose the names of American customers of UBS who may have stashed their cash in the Swiss bank to avoid taxes. Two Swiss courts said that the deal violated the country’s secrecy laws and could not be enforced.

According to The New York Times, the U.S. and Switzerland are still negotiating a way to get the names of some of the suspected tax evaders:

While the Swiss cabinet, known as the Swiss Federal Council, said in a statement that it would continue talks with the United States on the matter, it said there was a risk that the United States would resume civil proceedings filed against UBS in a Florida court last year. That case sought to force UBS to disclose the names of 52,000 wealthy American clients suspected of tax evasion through UBS’s private bank.

That lawsuit was suspended in August when the Swiss government, acting on behalf of UBS during months of intense negotiations, promised to hand over 4,450 UBS client names.

The Swiss government is considering putting the matter to a vote in the country’s Parliament.

In the meantime, we can only wonder what’s going through the heads of the 14,700 American tax cheats who voluntarily turned themselves in a few months ago in exchange for leniency. Actually, we don’t have to wonder. Head, meet wall.

Swiss Back Away From Deal to Give Names of Rich UBS Clients to U.S. [NYT]