Private bank Union Bancaire Privee says joins U.S. tax deal
ZURICH Dec 20 (Reuters) - Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) on Friday became the latest Swiss bank to say it would work with U.S. officials in a crackdown on wealthy Americans evading taxes through hidden offshore accounts.
With 81.1 billion Swiss francs ($90.4 billion) in assets, the Geneva-based bank is the biggest privately-held firm so far to say publicly it will take part in a government-brokered scheme to make amends for aiding tax evasion.
The scheme requires Swiss banks to hand out some previously hidden information and face penalties of up to 50 percent of assets they managed on behalf of U.S. clients.
"Union Bancaire Privee announces that following the joint statement of 29 August 2013 signed by the United States Department of Justice and the Swiss Federal Department of Finance, it has decided to participate in the US Programme� for banks and opted for category 2, whilst reserving the right to switch to category 3," the bank said in a statement to Reuters.
Swiss banks putting themselves in the second category have reason to believe they may have committed tax offenses, and are eligible for a non-prosecution agreement if they come clean and face fines.
So-called category 3 banks have not engaged in criminal conduct or are deemed "compliant" under U.S. tax rules. They would receive a "non-target letter", or a promise from prosecutors they won't be charged later, and not have to pay fines.
A host of smaller listed Swiss banks have come forward, but the majority of Switzerland's private banks are unlisted and often family-run firms, such as Lombard Odier & Cie, and have been largely silent so far.
UBP has been a copious acquirer in recent years, most recently snapping up Lloyds Banking Group Plc's international private banking arm in May, after buying ABN AMRO's private banking arm, Paris-based asset manager Nexar and a portfolio of assets from Spanish bank Santander's Swiss asset management arm.
- 'Good night': Haunting final contact from missing Malaysian jet |
- Crimeans vote over 90 percent to quit Ukraine for Russia |
- Ukraine, Russia agree Crimea truce until March 21-Ukraine minister
- North Korea fires 25 short-range and obsolete rockets: South Korea
- France bans Monsanto GM maize ahead of sowing season