So Switzerland Just Sold You Down The River

August 19th, 2009 by alyx · 5 Comments · all ur bankz, loller dollar


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?

5 Comments so far ↓

  • GV

    i’m looking at the cayman’s.

    and it’s a civil service to not pay taxes! i take offense to use of the word “shady.” it’s a smart move, starve the beast!

  • Weston

    “hot mess”

    If there was just money to hide, how about hiding debt.

  • Jason

    Apparently tax-happy Denmark is where all the cool kids are hiding their offshore money nowadays, following a complicated series of transfers that somehow involves the Netherlands.

  • Jason

    Also, hooray for the Leisure Suit Larry image.

  • Jibber

    bet dollars to donuts the forced disclosure level lies just above the level that several DC types have in their swiss accounts. It is not coincidental that the number magically dropped from 52,000 to 5,000 to 4,450. Why 4,450? why is that better than the nice round number of “give us your top 5,000 US citizen accounts.”

    I’d pay double my yearly taxes for the chance to read the full list. Either disclosse them all or disclose none of them I say. It won’t fold UBS… if you are disclosing the top 4,450 accounts out of 52,000, you more than likely already hit 80% of the assets.


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