US authorities vow to pursue tax evasion probe of UBS

<div>THE US Justice Department yesterday slapped down any suggestion that it could drop its legal case against UBS, which aims to force the Swiss bank to hand over details of 52,000 US citizens suspected of using the bank to evade tax.<br /><br />&ldquo;While the department is always willing to consider settlement in any case, the suggestion that the department is planning to drop this suit is simply untrue,&rdquo; a spokesman said.<br /><br />&ldquo;The department is continuing with the case against UBS and will file its brief asking the court to enforce the summons on 30 June.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Swiss authorities have been lobbying Washington in a bid to get it to drop the case, over fears that it would permanently damage Switzerland&rsquo;s tradition of bank secrecy.<br /><br />UBS has already paid $780m (&pound;477m) in a settlement over allegations that it allowed wealthy US citizens to avoid taxes via offshore bank accounts, but the US Justice Department filed a suit against the bank in February demanding that it disclose the names of American clients.<br /><br />However, the two sides could reach an agreement if the Swiss government follows through on a plan to reveal the names of UBS clients who have filed papers in Switzerland contesting the US Justice Department&rsquo;s summons.</div>