Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Get in Line Brother #9 - UBS / DOJ Settlement on Names?

The New York Times reports here a possible settlement soon in the UBS case.

The article is cryptic, but as best I understand it, what's in it for the DOJ/IRS to drop the John Doe Summons action action is:

1. UBS / the Swiss Government would turn over the names of U.S. persons who have filed suit in Switzerland to block the turnover of names. ("But prosecutors are more likely to learn the identities of UBS clients after some filed legal papers in Swiss courts contesting the Justice Department’s names summons. Swiss government officials are considering conveying these Swiss-based filings to the Justice Department as part of a deal in which the United States agency would drop the entire case, something that would allow Switzerland to say that it has not breached its own secrecy laws.") This seems to me to be a bit of a game, but let's see if and how it plays out.

2. Many the ultra wealthy persons affected have joined the voluntary disclosure program and the suit would involve lengthy appeals proceedings. (This explanation of a reason to settle makes no sense to me.) But, in this regard, the following statement is made:

Of the 52,000 clients on the agency’s original list, prosecutors are focused on several thousand ultrawealthy Americans with offshore accounts containing from tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. Some 30,000 of the accounts are smaller, cash-only accounts, and many of those have been repatriated to American-based banks in recent months, the official said.
There are a lot of questions left unanswered in this cryptic article. Stay tuned.

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