Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Swiss Release Criteria for Disclosing Names

The reports are coming in that the Swiss have released the criteria for disclosing the approximately 4,450 names related to UBS accounts. I provide links below for some news reports that include reports as to the selection criteria. As I parse these reports, the criteria apply for the period 2001-2008 and are:

1. Accounts in the name of offshore companies controlled by U.S. persons. I presume this includes any type of entities, such as LLCs, trusts, etc.). There seem to be no amount limits to this type of disclosure.

2. Accounts in the names of U.S. persons (any one of the following criteria may result in disclosure)

(a) with more than 1,000,000 Swiss francs (US $ equivalent varies depending upon exchange rate, but for example it is reported that this amount was USD $600,000 in 2001 and USD $900,000 in 2008).

(b) with more than 250,000 Swiss francs if they involve "fraudulent behavior" (such as falsifying documents). It is unclear what showing of fraudulent behavior is required and how the Swiss might know of it, but perhaps the inquiry will be whether there is some indication from the financial institution's files as to fraudulent behavior; in other words, it is not clear whether there is some affirmative requirement to do more than review the files for the indication of the conduct).

(c) with annual earnings of more than 100,000 francs.

The first 400 will be selected by end of the week. I am not sure exactly what selection means. I do know that a number of account owners have already received letters that indicate that their accounts were on the list.

These criteria seem to apply -- at least for now -- only to UBS.

I do plan to update this blog as clarifying information comes to me.

NYT Article

WSJ Article

See also related DOJ Tax Announcement crowing over the release, although not announcing the criteria.

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