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UBS may not pay fine in US settlement

Swiss bank UBS will not pay a fine as part of the settlement of a tax evasion dispute with the United States, according to two newspapers.

This content was published on August 2, 2009 - 12:28

The NZZ am Sonntag and SonntagsZeitung both reported that data on around 5,000 UBS clients would be released to US authorities as part of an agreement in principle, announced on Friday. They cited unnamed sources.

The justice ministry and foreign ministry declined to comment.

The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had wanted the Swiss bank to hand over information on some 52,000 clients it suspected of dodging taxes.

A trial had been scheduled to begin on Monday. It has been reset for August 10 but will be cancelled if a final deal is reached.

Switzerland's state secretary for foreign affairs, Michael Ambühl, told the NZZ am Sonntag the deal would not violate the country's banking secrecy laws.

"The Swiss legal system is maintained, because the U.S. have promised to act on the basis of the current agreements and to ask for legal assistance again," said Ambühl, Switzerland's top diplomat.

Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said in a newspaper interview that the parties had still to agree on important details.

"There are still details to be cleared, which are of importance to us," she said. "Should we not reach an agreement, which is in line with our Swiss laws, a deal would be put into question."

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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