UBS Poised To Name US Tax Dodgers
On Friday November 28th from London, The Financial Times is reporting UBS Poised To Name US Tax Dodgers in an article written by Haig Simonian. At the shareholder meeting held the day before to approve the latest round of capital raising for UBS, "The 2,395 investors gathered in a dingy suburban hall and heard for the first time that the world's biggest wealth manager looked poised to bow to US pressure and release the names of an unspecified number of US customers who may have committed tax fraud in squirrelling away their assets."
One has to wonder whether the "limited number" of such cases that were announced to have been identified (among the roughly 19,000 US citizens who held offshore accounts with the bank's Geneva, Zurich and Lugano offices) were the result of shall one say "illegal" activities, such as proceeds from drug transactions, bribery or other criminal enterprise behavior. Certainly the public revelation that mod and drug traffickers were hiding their money with UBS will create a great political uproar in the United States.
Perhaps the Swiss government hopes by releasing only the names of such known individuals who clearly committed crimes under both United States and Swiss law, there will be less pressure to expose the names of the other American account holders. From the story, "Peter Kurer, UBS chairman, gave no details, and officials stressed that the decision to transmit names to foreign authorities remained a government matter." But in noting the discovery of tax fraud "under both US and Swiss law", Mr. Kurer added: "Contrary to the idea conjured up in public discussions, bank secrecy is not absolutely valid. It is not there to protect cases of tax fraud." However, these comments suggest that there soon may be a settlement with the US authorities in their long-running investigations into alleged tax evasion in Switzerland.
Toomre Capital Markets LLC ("TCM") previously has written about this on-going investigation in the posts NYT: Indictments Said to Be Possible in UBS Inquiry, Wealthy Americans Under Scrutiny in UBS Case and UBS Global Wealth Chairman Raoul Weil Indicted.
TCM applauds the efforts of American tax authorities to ensure that all Americans pay their appropriate income taxes as called for in the income tax statutes. Those who consciously and actively have sought to avoid declaring and paying their income taxes should and deserve to have the proverbial book thrown at them (as press reports suggest are in process with a number of simultaneous criminal and civil proceeding in parallel).