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Swiss bank, UBS to hand over 4,450 names to the US

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ubsIn a landmark development in Swiss banking history, known for its secrecy, Swiss bank UBS AG will hand over some 4,450 names of American account holders to US authorities, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

The decision is part of a U.S.-Swiss tax-evasion settlement and investigation that could produce a total 10,000 account identities.

UBS and the governments of the U.S. and Switzerland agreed on a final settlement last week, but the details weren’t made public until Wednesday. UBS isn’t expected to pay a monetary fine as part of the settlement.

As part of the tax settlement, U.S. tax authorities will file a treaty request with the Swiss government to obtain the data on the American UBS clients, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said on a conference call with reporters. The Swiss government will then direct UBS to turn over the account data to the IRS, the agency said.

Mr. Shulman was quoted by report as saying the legal agreement allowed the IRS to obtain substantially all the information it was interested in.

He said the criteria used to select the 4,450 accounts to be turned over are being kept confidential. Lawyers involved in representing UBS clients believe that violations of Swiss law would be a factor.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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