The U.S. government has dropped its criminal case against Swiss bank UBS. Prosecutors now say that UBS is no longer in the business of selling offshore bank accounts that enabled wealthy Americans to avoid taxes by holding money secretly in Switzerland.
Orange County tax attorneys recall that eighteen months ago UBS avoided indictment by admitting to fraud and conspiracy, and by paying a $780 million fine. Part of UBS’s probation/deferred prosecution agreement was that they would prove, to the U.S. government’s satisfaction, that the bank had stopped providing secret accounts that allowed the holders to shelter billions of dollars owed to the U.S. in taxes.
In August of 2009, UBS also reached an agreement to turn over the names of 4450 American account holders that the IRS suspected of evading taxes.
After federal prosecutors let UBS know that they would also be examining the bank’s operations in Asia, UBS notified prosecutors that it no longer sells undeclared offshore private banking services to Americans through Singapore and Hong Kong. UBS has sizable operations in both of those tax havens.
Two independent entities investigated UBS at the bank’s request. The bank wanted independent proof that it had dismantled its undeclared offshore private banking business. The reviews were done by KPMG, the accounting firm, and by Thomas J. McGonigle of the law firm of Murphy & McGonigle. McGonigle is a former branch chief of the SEC’s enforcement division. Neither KPMG nor McGonigle would comment on their investigations, but shortly after they reached their conclusions, the U.S. government dropped its case.
Source: New York Times “U.S. Drops Criminal Charges Against UBS” 10/22/2010