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No data given to U.S., Swiss say

November 12, 2008|Times Wire Services

Switzerland said it hadn't given the U.S. any data on Swiss-based accounts of UBS clients because a request for assistance hadn't been decided upon.

UBS, Switzerland's largest bank, is being investigated in the U.S. over whether it helped customers dodge American taxes.

Former UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld pleaded guilty in June to helping a billionaire UBS customer evade U.S. taxes, saying he and his colleagues engaged in a variety of schemes to help U.S. clients conceal $20 billion in assets and evade tax laws.

The Washington Post reported that UBS had handed over the names of 70 Americans with undeclared bank accounts at UBS in response to a U.S. Justice Department request. UBS has not given any data on Swiss-based accounts to U.S. authorities, a spokesman said Monday.

According to Swiss law, bank secrecy can be lifted only in connection with a criminal offense, such as tax fraud or money laundering.

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