April 29 The Swiss units of Goldman Sachs Group
Inc and Morgan Stanley have agreed to hand over
details to U.S. authorities about how they may have helped
Americans to evade taxes, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Though the two banks will not face prosecution in the United
States in return, they could be penalized by up to 50 percent of
the value of the undeclared U.S. accounts they have handled, the
Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. (link.reuters.com/hyp88v)
The move comes as the U.S. Justice Department ramps up its
investigations of Swiss banks that helped Americans dodge taxes
leading to billions of dollars of missed revenues.
As part of the program with the authorities, named category
2, banks compile information about how they set up Swiss
accounts for U.S. clients and also how much was contained in the
accounts, the Journal said, adding that the information must be
reviewed by an independent examiner.
The Justice Department is currently probing 14 Swiss banks
over taxes after UBS AG became the first major bank to
settle over the charges. Two smaller Swiss banks have had to
close shop as a result of the U.S. investigation.
Last month, a former Credit Suisse Group AG banker
pleaded guilty to conspiring to help U.S. customers evade taxes
by using Swiss accounts, and said he did so with the
encouragement of his superiors.
(Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb