VP Bank pulls Swiss arm out of US programme on tax evasion

ZURICH Tue Aug 26, 2014 3:53am EDT

ZURICH Aug 26 (Reuters) - VP Bank said on Tuesday it had withdrawn its Swiss arm from a U.S. programme to settle a tax dispute between Swiss banks and the United States, one of the first banks to publicly pull out of the scheme.

The Lichtenstein-based private bank was one of around 100 banks to have come forward at the end of last year to work with U.S. authorities in the Swiss government-brokered programme.

VP Bank said it had now concluded that it no longer needed to take part in the programme.

"Thorough internal investigations and external expert opinions showed that the conditions for continued participation did not exist," the Liechtenstein-based bank said in a statement accompanying its half-year results.

"VP Bank therefore withdrew from the U.S. programme and the established provisions were reversed as of 30 June 2014."

A spokeswoman for the bank said it had set aside 3 million Swiss francs ($3.3 million) in provisions for the investigation.

About 80 of the roughly 100 Swiss banks that signed up for a deal with U.S. tax authorities could be fined less than they had feared for their role in helping wealthy Americans cheat on their taxes, but must widen their cooperation, a Swiss newspaper reported last month.

The Swiss arm of Lichtenstein's LLB is one of around a dozen Swiss banks facing a U.S. criminal investigation as part of the tax probe. (1 US dollar = 0.9145 Swiss franc) (Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Oliver Hirt, editing by Louise Heavens)