European banks identified in U.S. tax probe: report

Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:21am EDT

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(Reuters) - Wealthy U.S. citizens using a government tax-evasion amnesty program have identified almost 10 European banks where they have accounts, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation.

The paper named Credit Suisse Group AG, Julius Baer Holding AG, Zuercher Kantonalbank and Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) in the report, though it said the disclosures did not signal any wrongdoing by the banks.

Credit Suisse and Julius Baer declined to comment on the report, while UBP and Zuercher Kantonalbank and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters.

Last week, the U.S. and Swiss government initialed an out-of-court settlement to end a dispute over whether UBS AG should be forced to disclose the names of 52,000 rich U.S. clients suspected of tax evasion.

The IRS in March announced new steps aimed at getting taxpayers hiding money in offshore accounts to pay up, reducing penalties on unpaid back taxes and promising not to file criminal charges against those who voluntarily come forward.

(Reporting by Ajay Kamalakaran in Bangalore and Katie Reid in Zurich; Editing by David Holmes)

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