November 26, 2014 / 4:25 PM / 4 years ago

Switzerland's bank staff shun aid fund for U.S. tax case

ZURICH, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Only a handful of staff at Swiss banks have drawn on a $2.6 million fund set up to help bankers and other employees who have fallen on hard times because of a U.S. crackdown on tax evasion through hidden offshore accounts.

At least 25 people, including bankers such as former UBS executive Raoul Weil, lawyers and asset managers, have been charged by U.S. authorities with assisting tax evasion via Swiss banks since 2008, rocking the country’s banking industry.

Data on thousands of bank employees have been handed over to U.S. authorities as part of the investigation, which is looking into how banks in Switzerland helped wealthy Americans avoid paying tax through hidden offshore accounts.

The fund, which is financed by banks, was put in place to support Swiss employees not accused of any wrongdoing but who have lost their jobs or suffered other personal or financial troubles after being caught up in the probe.

It has only paid out around 100,000 Swiss francs ($104,047) to about 10 bankers since it was set up in 2013, the director of the Association for Bank Employees, Denise Chervet, said on Wednesday.

The figures on the fund were originally reported by Swiss business newspaper, Handelszeitung.

Of the Swiss banks that have already settled with U.S. authorities, UBS and Credit Suisse, the country’s two biggest banks, have incurred the biggest losses, forking out more than $3 billion in fines between them.

Roughly a dozen Swiss banks are still facing criminal investigations in the United States. Around 100 more signed up to work with U.S. authorities at the end of last year, to make amends for possibly aiding tax evasion by wealthy Americans.

Ex-UBS executive Weil was acquitted earlier this month, shortly before a former executive at Swiss private bank Rahn & Bodmer was indicted in the United States on charges of conspiring to help Americans evade taxes using secret accounts.

(1 US dollar = 0.9611 Swiss franc)

Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Catherine Evans

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