If you can't wash it -- hide it, right? Generally lauded for its banking secrecy laws -- standards which have held for hundreds of years -- the Swiss and their accounts have been the "hider of last resort;" but according to the Associated Press, this may be about to change.
"The U.S. government and Swiss banking giant UBS AG have reached an agreement in a case seeking names of some 52,000 suspected American tax evaders with billions in secret Swiss accounts," but further details and stipulations will be released next week.
All sides -- the US (read IRS), UBS (NYSE:UBS) and the Swiss government -- are "pleased," with Swiss Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf quoted as saying the agreement "is in the interests of both states."
I wonder what we're giving them in return for the names -- the names of all the hack-Swiss watch counterfeiters off Canal Street? Don't laugh -- that could work...
The IRS is in the belief that some 52,000 American clients are hiding upwards of $15 billion in secret accounts.
After months of negotiating, an agreement has been reached, but the details have yet to be signed in final form.
This isn't the first time UBS has been made to spill the beans. Earlier this year, they paid a $780 million penalty and turned in some 300 Americans evading taxes --which ironically, and coincidentally, is not a Swiss banking crime! (Go figure... so much for "integrity?")
Since then, hundreds of other holders have come forward under an amnesty program which allows the tax sinners to pay taxes and penalties but evade the threat of jail.
This amnesty ends September 23, 2009.