More than 150 US customers of the Swiss bank UBS are being “criminally investigated” on suspicion of tax avoidance, court documents say. The suspects are accused of hiding income and assets to dodge US taxes as first reported earlier this week here on Matzav.com. Last week, the US government and UBS took another step closer to resolving their dispute over tax evasion by US customers of the Swiss bank. Observers say the deal could mean the days of the secret Swiss bank account could be be numbered.
The deal between the US and UBS – due to be completed tomorrow – looks set to end a stand-off that has lasted for months.
The US Justice Department has been seeking the names of more than 50,000 US customers with Swiss accounts.
But UBS has maintained that divulging the names would violate Swiss bank secrecy laws.
In February, UBS admitted to tax fraud in the US and agreed to pay $780 million as part of a provisional deal to settle charges that it helped thousands of US clients use Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes.
UBS also handed over a limited number of account details.
But US officials argued this was not enough, and launched a fresh legal challenge to obtain the identities of all the bank’s US account holders.
Last week the UK signed a breakthrough deal to recover lost tax from Britons holding bank accounts in Liechtenstein.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has agreed with the Alpine tax haven to start exchanging information.