I’ll be pouring one out on the stoop of my Colorado River cabin this eve for the good old days of no-compromise Swiss bank secrecy (as Jason pointed out earlier this week, I suck at taking vacations), as UBS caves in and coughs up the names of about 4,450 Americans who were in ur Switzerland, hidin their dollaz:
UBS AG will hand over some 4,450 names of U.S. account holders as part of a U.S.-Swiss tax-evasion settlement and investigation that could produce in total 10,000 account identities, according to people familiar with the situation.
It’s not clear how UBS — and the Swiss government — have decided on the 4,450 names. Lawyers involved in representing UBS clients believe that violations of Swiss law would be a factor.
If that seems like a lot of people to turn over to the feds… keep in mind the US was originally looking for more like 52,000 names. It also looks like the decision to back down was Timmay’s:
Accounts below a certain size would not be reported, but this limit would be kept confidential so that account-holders could never be sure whether they were vulnerable, it said.
However, account-holders threatened with disclosure would be able to challenge the move in the Swiss courts, it said.
NZZ am Sonntag said the U.S. government had backed off from the original demands of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) because the U.S. Treasury Secretary did not want to provoke another financial crisis by pushing UBS over the edge.
So UBS is also too big to fail, and asking them to hand over the names of 52,000 potential tax cheats is enough to cause that to happen, but handing over the names of 4,450 potentially shady American fatcats as a token gesture is enough to strike fear in the black hearts of all greedy citizens who don’t want to pay their bills to Uncle Sam and put us back on the road to salvation?
This is guaranteed to be a hot mess if it does go to court, I think. Where are all the cool kids hiding their money these days? Someplace in South America?