Swiss bankers lobby backs plan to end US tax dispute

Written by Reuters | Zurich | Updated: Aug 29 2013, 07:00am hrs
The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has backed a blueprint for an agreement between Switzerland and the US aimed at ending a long-running tax dispute, an SBA spokeswoman said. The Swiss government is keen to end the dispute in which US authorities have fined two Swiss banks for helping wealthy Americans evade tax and are investigating another dozen, while many more face probes for similar transgressions.

The latest proposal deals mainly with a settlement for the roughly 100 Swiss banks that had US clients, but are not yet being investigated by US justice authorities. According to Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger, these banks may face fines of 20% to 50% of the assets they are suspected of helping US citizens to hide from tax authorities.

Tages-Anzeiger said it had seen a copy of the proposal presented to SBA. The board of directors fully supports the programme as the best among tough alternatives, the spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

SBA directors include Boris Collardi, CEO of Julius Baer which is one of the banks being investigated by the US.

Current talks between Swiss and US officials centre on roughly a dozen banks under investigation, which include Credit Suisse.

The Swiss government has said it will grant these banks permission to hand over client data to the US, which will allow them to avoid charges as they cut individual deals.