Monday, December 19, 2011

Swiss Bank Tax Evasion: U.S. Offers 11 Banks Deal To Avoid Prosecution: Report

ZURICH (Reuters) - U.S. officials are offering 11 Swiss banks, among them Credit Suisse , a deal that allows them to avoid criminal prosecution in exchange for revealing full details of their U.S. offshore business to Washington, a paper reported on Sunday.

Famed for the care with which it protects account holders' anonymity, the Alpine state has been forced to act by a series of U.S. probes into alleged tax evasion by Americans concealing their assets in Swiss banks.

In 2009, the Swiss parliament approved a deal to allow UBS to reveal details of around 4,450 U.S. clients and pay a $780 million fine to end lengthy tax proceedings that had threatened the future of the country's biggest bank.

The Swiss government has been in talks with U.S. authorities for months to try to get an investigation into 11 banks dropped, in return for expected hefty fines on the banks and the handing over of the names.

Credit Suisse , Julius Baer and Basler Kantonalbank are among the banks under investigation.

Citing an unnamed source, the newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported that 11 banks would each be offered a deal like the one to which UBS agreed.

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