US probe targets Swiss accounts

Authorities want names of US clients in Zurich-based UBS bank for tax fraud probe.

    US officials say they suspect UBS accounts are being used to evade federal taxes [EPA]

    The move follows a former UBS banker's guilty plea to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by assisting US clients to avoid reporting on income in Swiss bank accounts.

    Justice officials said the summons, if approved, will compel the UBS to reveal the identities of US clients under "undeclared" accounts, totalling some $20bn.

    Last month the former banker, Bradley Birkenfeld, said in a court document that UBS staff assisted wealthy US clients create sham entities and then file false claims to conceal their offshore assets.

    US taxpayers are legally required to report all offshore accounts exceeding a total of $10,000 each year.

    Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, said the information gathered will help detect wealthy tax evaders as well as provide details about how advisors facilitate such abuse.

    Rohini Pragasam, a UBS spokeswoman, said in a statement the bank took the matter "very seriously" and was "working diligently" with authorities in both countries.

    John DiCicco, the deputy assistant attorney-general of the department's tax division said they were "prepared to seek enforcement" if the Swiss government and bank fails to cooperate on the matter.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.