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  1. Wealth
July 9, 2009

WSJ: Swiss govt will stop UBS handing over names

By Spear's

BERN, Switzerland — The Swiss government said it will block UBS AG from handing out confidential client data to U.S. authorities, even if a U.S. court orders the Swiss bank to do so, as it remained adamant in its efforts to protect the country’s longtime banking secrecy.

BERN, Switzerland — The Swiss government said it will block UBS AG from handing out confidential client data to U.S. authorities, even if a U.S. court orders the Swiss bank to do so, as it remained adamant in its efforts to protect the country’s longtime banking secrecy.

The Swiss government’s statement comes days ahead of a trial in the U.S. that could force UBS to hand out data of about 52,000 U.S. clients who have allegedly evaded taxes in their home country with the bank’s help. The civil trial, tied to charges filed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, is scheduled to start Monday in Miami.

“Switzerland makes it perfectly clear that Swiss law prohibits UBS from complying with a possible order by the court in Miami to hand over the client information,” the Swiss Justice Ministry said Wednesday. “On the basis of the Federal Council’s landmark decision, UBS will by no means be in a position to comply with such an order.”

The Finance Ministry said “all the necessary measures should be taken to prevent UBS from handing over the information on the 52,000 account holders.”

Under the threat of being placed on a list of international tax havens, Switzerland started earlier this year to adapt its tax rules to protect a watered-down form of banking secrecy. As part of those efforts, Switzerland hammered out a double-taxation treaty with the U.S. and other countries to bring its tax laws in line with international standards.

To read the full story, visit wsj.com

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