US abandons tax deal talks with Swiss

City A.M. Reporter
THE United States has ended talks with Switzerland aimed at settling a row over investigations into Swiss banks accused of helping Americans dodge taxes, it is understood.

The US sent Berne a letter two weeks ago saying it had no interest in a global settlement to end the tax dispute.

An announcement on Friday that Credit Suisse was being targeted in a broader investigation into banks suspected of helping Americans evade taxes was seen as an attempt to increase pressure on Switzerland in the talks.

Switzerland agreed in 2009 to weaken its strict bank secrecy and hand over data of clients suspected of using Swiss accounts to dodge taxes, to settle a US investigation of its biggest bank UBS, which also paid a fine of $780m in 2009 to avoid criminal charges.

Last month, sources said the talks had become bogged down due to Swiss insistence that any deal leave Swiss bankers free from prosecution in the US. Any deal would involve the US dropping its investigation in return for the banks paying a fine, exiting their undeclared offshore banking businesses for Americans, and turning over client names to the Internal Revenue Service.