New York: Senior officials of Swiss banking major UBS, which is facing tax fraud charges from the American government, may face prosecution in the US, says a report.
The Federal government has alleged that the bank helped Americans to evade tax and has also sought details of nearly 52,000 account holders.
The New York Times on Wednesday reported that UBS came under blistering attack from officials and lawmakers “amid a growing outcry over Swiss banking secrecy practices that Washington says allow rampant tax evasion”.
Attributing to a testimony by a top Justice Department Official before a Senate subcommittee, the newspaper said, “the agency might prosecute senior UBS executives as part of its investigation into whether the Swiss bank helped scores of wealthy Americans evade billions of dollars in taxes”.
The report quoting John DiCicco, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s tax division noted that he was not going to rule out “one way or the other whether there will be prosecutions. Certainly the executives in UBS knew what was going on”.
According to the publication, the Swiss government is resisting a push by the Internal Revenue Service to force UBS to disclose the names of clients behind 52,000 accounts involving illegal tax shelters.
The report noted that senior UBS executive Mark Branson raised hackles by faulting the IRS for the disclosure effort.
“... the issue was more suited to diplomatic negotiations than to review by prosecutors and tax authorities,” he was quoted as saying.
The New York Times said that DiCicco countered that the dispute was between the American government and UBS, and that Washington was “not going head to head with the Swiss government”.