Apparently, the United States government is putting the pressure on Swiss banks to reveal the identities of their American customers for tax purposes.
This reminds me: When I was a kid watching sitcoms in the ’80s and a character would mention Swiss bank accounts (likely Alex P. Keaton), I always imagined a bank made of Swiss cheese, where the tellers interacted with customers through the holes. In related news, I was not a bright child. And sadly, now an adult, the only thing I can ponder about this is whether or not the potent smell of such a workplace would warrant an OSHA violation. Oh to long for the carelessness of youth. Anyway…
Federal authorities have filed a lawsuit against Swiss-based bank UBS AG seeking the identities of tens of thousands of U.S. customers.
The suit filed in Miami Thursday seeks to force the firm to turn over information on as many as 52,000 U.S. customers who hid their accounts from the U.S. government in violation of tax laws. According to the government’s lawsuit, the accounts in question held about $14.8 billion in assets in the past decade.
The company said it will fight in court to keep the names private, arguing Swiss bank secrecy laws shield those customers.
A federal judge will now decide whether the U.S. courts can force a bank to violate Swiss bank secrecy laws and provide the account information.
The move came as Switzerland desperately sought to reassure its citizens and international banking clients that it would safeguard a treasured tradition of confidential accounts after taking the unprecedented step of revealing over 250 tax cheats to U.S. authorities.
Hat tip to Chamber staffer Tim Brewer for the article.