views

Court date looms as UBS and US fail to agree over tax row

A PROTRACTED legal battle between Swiss bank UBS and the US authorities looks increasingly likely, with the two sides still to reach a settlement over demands that the bank hand over details of 52,000 customers suspected of tax evasion.<br /><br />Lawyers for the Department of Justice (DoJ) said &ldquo;no agreement has been reached and it&rsquo;s unclear whether an agreement will be reached&rdquo;.<br /><br />If the two sides are unable to find a compromise by the end of tomorrow, they will face a full-blown court hearing beginning in Miami on Monday.<br /><br />The DoJ wants the bank to hand over the names of 52,000 clients to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as part of a tax evasion probe.<br /><br />But UBS insists that it cannot give up the names under Swiss bank secrecy laws and has said that the matter should be resolved between the governments of the two countries.<br /><br />A meeting tomorrow between US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and Swiss foreign minister Micheline Calmy-Rey represents the last opportunity for the two sides to resolve the conflict.<br /><br />The case was due to start on 13 July but was delayed until 3 August to allow time for negotiations.