Swiss bank UBS hands over 500 accounts in US probe

City A.M. Reporter
SWISS authorities are understood to have already handed over 500 accounts of UBS clients to the United States under an agreement to end a tax dispute that has threatened the bank’s existence.

The Swiss lower house rejected the agreement on Tuesday, triggering a new parliamentary debate next week and delaying a final decision on whether to allow the government to hand over a total of 4,450 UBS client accounts to US authorities.

UBS, the world’s second-largest wealth manager, has already handed the accounts to Swiss tax authorities but the political deadlock threatens to stop Switzerland handing them on to the US by the August deadline. Missing this deadline could lead to the US restarting legal action.

Around 2,900 files had already been prepared for handover and 1,550 more accounts were still being processed, Swiss paper Sonntag reported.

“Client dossiers were transferred to the United States in around 500 of the 2,900 cases,” the paper cited the Swiss tax office spokesman Thomas Brueckner as saying.

These 500 clients had signed waivers allowing their accounts to be handed over to the US taxman voluntarily. UBS and the Swiss federal tax office did not comment.