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US authorities scale down demand for UBS info, says report

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-27

The US Department of Justice wants Swiss bank UBS to give details of 10, 000 of its US account holders suspected of tax evasion, instead of the 52,000 originally asked, according to a report in the Swiss media.

AFP - The US authorities are seeking details of 10,000 account holders at Swiss banking giant UBS, just under a fifth of the 52,000 originally sought for alleged tax evasion, Swiss reports said.

The US Department of Justice wants details for 10,000 clients who met with the Swiss bank's representatives in the United States during 2001 to 2007, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported Sunday, citing an unnamed US source.

US authorities filed a lawsuit earlier this year for names of 52,000 US taxpayers suspected of holding UBS offshore accounts to avoid paying US taxes.

A trial was meant to begin in July but a judge agreed to a request from the US and Swiss governments, as well as UBS, to put it off until August 3 to give all parties time to negotiate a settlement.

SonntagsZeitung said a telephone conference will be held Wednesday on the case.

Swiss Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey is also expected to meet US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Friday to "discuss all current bilateral issues."

Mark Branson, former financial director of wealth management at UBS, told the newspaper that the bank managed 47,000 offshore American accounts in late 2008, of which half held deposits of less than 50,000 dollars.

Such smaller accounts would not interest US tax authorities. Instead, they could be interested in the 20,000 accounts which hold larger sums, the newspaper said.

The Swiss government has vowed to prevent banking giant UBS from releasing client data to US tax authorities as part of efforts to defend the country's tradition of banking secrecy. It said in a filing to the US court that it would seize the information itself if necessary.

Date created : 2009-07-27

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