Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Switzerland has vowed to prevent UBS from handing over client information to U.S authorities, in an attempt to defend bank secrecy, saying a tax case targeting its main bank is souring diplomatic ties.
Wealth management giant UBS is facing a court hearing in Miami next week after refusing to disclose data on 52,000 Americans holders of secret Swiss bank accounts to U.S. tax authorities.
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The Swiss Justice Ministry said on Wednesday that Swiss law prevents UBS from handing over client information and the government would seize UBS client data, if necessary, to stop that happening. The case, which comes amid a global fight against tax cheats supported by the U.S. administration, has damaged the UBS brand and could result in an expensive settlement for the bank at a time when the bank needs to focus on restructuring.
“Switzerland will use its legal authority to ensure that the bank cannot be pressured to transmit the information illegally, including if necessary by issuing an order taking effective control of the data at UBS,” the Swiss government said in a response to U.S. authorities filed in Miami on Tuesday.
Full story here.