Monday, November 29, 1999

TIMELINE - Swiss battle with U.S. tax authorities over UBS

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REUTERS - Switzerland's parliament backed a Swiss-U.S. tax treaty crucial to the future of UBS AG, ending months of uncertainty over the deal and paving the way for renewed recovery at the Swiss bank.Following is a timeline of major events during the tax row:2008:June 19 -- A former UBS banker who once smuggled a client's diamonds into the United States in toothpaste pleads guilty, as part of a broader tax evasion probe of UBS, to helping a billionaire hide $200 million from U.S. tax authorities.Oct. 16 -- UBS says to sell 9.3 percent stake to Swiss government for 6 billion Swiss francs ($5.55 billion) and put $60 billion of toxic assets into a new central bank fund.Nov. 12 -- Raoul Weil, head of UBS AG's wealth management business, charged with conspiring to help thousands of Americans hide $20 billion from U.S. authorities in Swiss bank accounts.2009:Feb. 10 -- Posts a 2008 loss of 19.7 billion francs, the biggest ever for a Swiss company. Cuts 2,000 jobs.Feb. 18 -- Swiss regulator FINMA orders UBS to identify certain U.S. clients to settle criminal fraud charges that it assisted rich Americans to evade taxes.Feb. 19 -- U.S. tax authorities say they are still pursuing a civil lawsuit seeking to access details on 52,000 UBS clients.Feb. 20 -- UBS says it could go out of business if it complies with an order to reveal the names of suspected U.S. tax dodgers.April 2 -- U.S. authorities arrest and charge an accountant in Florida in the first of what they say could be a series of tax evasion prosecutions of American clients of UBS.July 10 -- CEO Oswald Gruebel sends a memorandum to bank's top executives saying it could not comply with the U.S. request to disclose the identity of the 52,000 account holders.Aug. 18 -- A filing in a U.S. federal court shows U.S. criminally investigating over 150 U.S. clients of UBS.Aug. 19 -- Swiss say will hand over details of about 4,450 bank accounts to U.S. authorities as part of the deal to settle the UBS tax case. It effectively ends a separate civil lawsuit by U.S. authorities that sought up to 52,000 account names.2010:Jan. 8 -- Bradley Birkenfeld, the former UBS banker who became in whistleblower in the U.S. government's tax probe, starts a 40-month prison term.Jan. 8 -- A Swiss court rules that regulator FINMA broke bank secrecy law when it ordered UBS to hand over the files of nearly 300 clients to U.S. authorities.Jan. 22 -- A UBS client wins a Swiss court appeal to prevent her account data from being given to the U.S. authorities, throwing doubt on Switzerland's ability to deliver details of 4,450 UBS client accounts to the U.S.Jan. 27 -- The Swiss government says it will talk to U.S. authorities in a bid to resolve the legal impasse. Says one step could be to seek retroactive approval from parliament.Feb. 24 -- Swiss government to ask parliament to turn a deal with Washington into binding law, plugging a legal hole stopping Berne from honouring the agreement.April 15 -- Seven former wealthy U.S. clients of UBS are charged with filing false tax returns, collectively hiding more than $100 million held offshore in Swiss accounts.May 31 - A report by two parliamentary committees slams the Swiss government saying it failed to act swiftly to prevent the credit and tax crisis that endangered UBS.June 3 - Switzerland's upper house backs the U.S. tax deal, which is yet to be approved by the parliament's lower house. The upper house also votes against having a referendum on the deal.June 8 - Swiss lower house rejects the Swiss-U.S. tax deal over UBS, contradicting the vote of the upper house.June 15 - The lower house approves the deal in its second vote but calls again for a referendum, sending the deal back to the upper house.June 17 - The two houses of parliament agree not to stage a referendum on the tax issue after crisis talks, meaning Swiss tax authorities should be able hand over the accounts of the 4,450 UBS clients on time to U.S. counterparts. The largest party, the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP), had shifted position, allowing the lower house to back the deal.(For more business news on Reuters India click
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