ZURICH (Reuters) - The Swiss government will hand over details of about 4,450 bank accounts to U.S. authorities as part of a deal struck with Washington over UBS, it said on Wednesday.
Here are some reactions to the news:
STEPHANE GARELLI, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS POLICY AT LAUSANNE UNIVERSITY
“If it is true that it concerns only 4,450 accounts and there is no fine for UBS it is good news. There is no penalty, they are turning the page and can concentrate on their future, to rebuild the rep of UBS and of the Swiss Banking Industry.
“Provided it is not an open-ended agreement, it is a good agreement, no doubt.
“It will certainly be a blueprint for any similar cases in the future, since it involves the two governments and the largest bank in the country.”
PETER D. HARDY, A FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR AND SPECALIST IN WHITE-COLLAR CRIME AT POST & SCHELL IN PHILADELPHIA
“Any names would have been impressive. The fact that they’ve gotten this much money ($18 bln) is definitely a tremendous success,” he said.
“To the high-end financial audience, the deal that they’ve done today clearly sends a message,” he added.
“The IRS is now gaining institutional skill and knowledge in how to pursue these types of cases and they’re going to use that. This is, I believe, the beginning and not the end.
SWISS SOCIAL DEMOCRAT PARTY (SP)
The Swiss Social Democrat Party (SP) welcomes the agreement between UBS and the U.S. IRS in principle.
“The bank has greatly damaged the reputation of Switzerland and its image as a financial centre.”
ROY RYAN, PARTNER AT LAW FIRM SCHELLENBERG WITTMER
“The agreement is an important step towards respecting Swiss banking secrecy, it means the U.S. government has to go through established procedures in which the rights of account holders are protected under Swiss law.
“Those laws not intended to protect criminal activity, but to protect the rights of account holders in Swiss institutions.”
GEORGE CLARKE, ATTORNEY AT MILLER CHEVALIER,WASHINGTON D.C.
“The whole structure seems to me a pretty substantial win for UBS. They managed to get out of the situation they were in without getting a further fine, they will only disclose a small portion of the number of names.
“The disclosure is being done consistent with Swiss due process. That’s a win for UBS, it’s a win for Switzerland.
“Unless the Swiss process is going to be opened to a John Doe type summon that basically says we want to know the name or we want to know the information of any U.S. taxpayer who has an account in Switzerland, then it seems to me the Swiss bank secrecy hasn’t changed that much.”
MATTHEW CLARK, ANALYST AT KEEFE, BRUYETTE & WOODS
“Most of the details had been leaked so this is pretty incremental news. But it’s a necessary step and it’s good to get it out of the way.
“The fact that there is no fine is not a surprise. This always seem to be about disclosures and scaring people into making disclosures rather than fining UBS.”
UBS CHAIRMAN KASPAR VILLIGER
“This agreement helps resolve one of UBS’ most pressing issues. I am confident that the agreement will allow the bank to continue moving forward to rebuild its reputation through solid performance and client service.
“UBS welcomes the fact that the information-exchange objectives of the settlement can be achieved in a lawful manner under the existing treaty framework between Switzerland and the United States.”
SWISS BANKERS ASSOCIATION
“The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) welcomes the fact that the USA and Switzerland have been able to find an out-of-court solution to the legal problems of UBS in the U.S. and finds the details of the agreement convincing.
“The out-of-court agreement avoids a prolonged legal battle that would have had an uncertain outcome and UBS can now continue with its consolidation process in an atmosphere free of this legal uncertainty.
“This is of crucial importance for the Swiss financial centre because international clients rely very much on the predictability and stability of the Swiss legal system.”
Editing by Simon Jessop
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