Updated Friday, August 1, 2014 as of 7:50 AM ET
Swiss Banks Send U.S. Client Data Before Cascade of Accords
(Bloomberg) -- Swiss banks will on the whole meet the deadline for delivering information on offshore accounts to the U.S., improving their chances of settling with the Justice Department this year.

Roiled by the demise of the country’s oldest bank, the lenders are helping U.S. prosecutors build cases against Americans who failed to report money stashed in Switzerland, a $2.3 trillion global hub for cross-border banking.

As many as 106 banks have entered the Justice Department’s program to volunteer information on how they helped clients hide money from the Internal Revenue Service, in exchange for leniency. Bloomberg News contacted 34 of the lenders, 20 of which said they will meet today’s deadline. Five others declined to comment, and seven didn’t have clear-cut answers. Two banks said they have dropped out of the program.

The results indicate that banks with few exceptions will comply with the program’s exacting terms. This would put them in position to pay fines and avoid the fate of Wegelin & Co., a more than 270-year-old bank forced out of business by a U.S. tax probe that led to a guilty plea in 2013.

“Most Swiss banks in the disclosure program will reach a settlement with the U.S. this year, subject to continued cooperation over account information exchange,” said David Fidan, a partner at Deloitte AG in Zurich.


Moody’s Investors Service today cut its outlook for the Swiss banking system to negative from stable, citing the Swiss government’s diminished willingness to support senior creditors, the New York-based rating company said in a report. Resolving U.S. tax disputes during the next 12 to 18 months will end a period in which it was difficult for banks to attract new customers, Moody’s said.

Excluded from the program are about a dozen category 1 Swiss banks, including Julius Baer Group Ltd. and HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss unit. For these lenders, voluntary disclosure is not an option as they are already under investigation in the U.S. Until recently, category 1 included Credit Suisse Group AG, the No. 2 Swiss bank that was fined $2.6 billion in May after it pleaded guilty to aiding tax evasion. UBS AG, the country’s largest lender, paid $780 million to defer prosecution in 2009.   more »

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