The Swiss units of Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS) agree to open their books on Swiss accounts set up for U.S. clients, reports the WSJ. In return for entering the so-called "category 2" program, the two won't face prosecution which could have resulted in fines equal to up to 50% of the value of their undeclared accounts.
If it turns out they haven't helped Americans evade taxes, the banks could be downgraded to "category 3," and won't face any penalties.
The DOJ says more than one-third of Swiss banks have committed to category 2. "It's a tricky thing to just say, I'm sure we had nothing," says Martin Naville, CEO of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce. "Better safe than sorry."
Goldman's Swiss private bank had about $12B in assets under supervision as of the end of 2013, and Morgan's had $50.7B in AUM, though much of that was from branches in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Citigroup and JPMorgan also have Swiss operations, but haven't yet entered any DOJ programs.