Thursday, March 5, 2009

Whatever Happens in Switzerland Stays in Switzerland

Related: Only the Little People Pay Taxes

U.S. Tax Cheats Secrets Safe With Swiss

"UBS: 47,000 accounts held by Americans; But bank won't give names to US" by Associated Press | March 5, 2009

WASHINGTON - UBS AG now says it had about 47,000 accounts held by Americans who didn't pay US taxes on their assets, but Switzerland's biggest bank isn't providing the names of any more of them to the US government.

A Justice Department official said if UBS is found in contempt by a federal judge for refusing to identify the rest of its US clients, the government could proceed with its criminal prosecution of the bank, which has been deferred. UBS official Mark Branson confirmed the figure of 47,000 accounts as of Sept. 30, at a Senate hearing yesterday that explored the fight over secrecy and alleged tax evasion.

UBS has accepted responsibility for helping Americans hide assets from the US government and turned over the names of about 300 US clients. But the bank is not giving the Internal Revenue Service the names of all US citizens who maintained secret accounts with the bank. Branson said nearly all the accounts have been closed and the bank "has now done all that it can do to cooperate" with the IRS request.


"UBS cannot disclose information to the IRS that would put its employees at serious risk of criminal prosecution under Swiss law," said Branson, who is the chief financial officer of the bank's global wealth management and Swiss bank division in Zurich.

Yeah, instead you and I have to take another bath in shit, Amurkn.

Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, and chairman of a Senate investigative subcommittee, said that despite UBS "being caught red-handed," the Swiss government is fighting the IRS request and defending the country's banking secrecy.

The conduct that UBS engaged in, including tricks to thwart the IRS from tracing Americans' funds in Switzerland, "actively facilitates tax evasion [and] amounts to a declaration of war by offshore secrecy jurisdictions against honest, hardworking taxpayers," Levin said at the hearing by the panel of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Huff, puff, nuffin!

"We cannot allow an environment to develop where wealthy individuals can go offshore and avoid paying taxes with impunity," said IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman. The Obama administration is "committed to taking aggressive action on offshore tax abuse," Shulman testified.

UBS, meanwhile, said former Swiss president Kaspar Villiger will replace Peter Kurer as chairman of the bank's board next month in an effort to restore its profitability and deal with the growing controversy over the US tax issue.

In a cross-border battle, the IRS has been trying to pry from UBS the names of wealthy Americans who maintain secret accounts with the bank. UBS maintains that turning over the account names would violate Swiss privacy law and jeopardize its license to stay in business.

Yeah, PRIVACY is only a concern and sacrosanct when it is ELITE LOOTERS' at stake!!

The Swiss government - which is providing financial support to UBS as it struggles with massive losses stemming from the US subprime mortgage crisis - refused to send a representative to yesterday's subcommittee hearing in protest of the IRS lawsuit against the bank....


What would happen if you or I flipped off the feds, huh?