Swiss banks sign up to tax deal with US

Kate McCann
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A NUMBER of Swiss banks have announced that they will cooperate with the United States in a crackdown on tax evasion.

The US has been pursuing a campaign to recoup tax dollars holed up in banks in Switzerland since 2009, when UBS paid a $780m fine and agreed to hand over the names of wealthy American clients.

In this latest development, banks were given until late on Monday to indicate their support for the scheme, with Valiant and Berner Kantonalbank both signing up.

The banks will be expected to hand over information and pay fines of up to 50 per cent of assets held on behalf of US clients. If they decide not to cooperate senior staff could face prosecution.

The Swiss banking regulator Finma said it expected most banks to work with the Americans, indicating that many have already done so.

Banks have until the end of the year to officially sign up. Private banks that are not listed are under no obligation to make their decision public.