Klaus Wille and Matthias Wabl
Friday, August 28, 2009
Switzerland’s chief negotiator in the UBS AG tax case said the U.S. Internal Revenue Service may request names of American clients from other banks after the Swiss government agreed to hand over UBS account details.
“It is possible that the IRS will ask for more data on U.S. customers at other Swiss banks,” Michael Ambuehl, who led discussions for the Swiss foreign ministry, said yesterday in written comments to Bloomberg News. Ambuehl, 57, is the country’s most senior diplomat and a mathematician by training.
A disclosure similar in scope to the Aug. 19 agreement is “questionable” because UBS is the only Swiss bank to admit unlawful behavior in its efforts to win rich U.S. clients, Ambuehl said.
The IRS plans to target more banks, law firms and entities that help Americans hide assets, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman said when the settlement was announced. While Swiss banks manage about 27 percent of the world’s offshore wealth, tax evasion through offshore accounts robs the U.S. of $100 billion annually, according to U.S. officials.