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UBS to hand over account holders to US government

UBS has been forced to reveal the names of 4,450 wealthy Americans who hold offshore accounts in Switzerland in order to settle a dispute between the bank and the US government.
This is the final instalment in an ongoing dispute and marks a triumph for the US government's attempts to crack down on tax evasion. The account details must be handed over to US tax investigators within the next 12 months.
UBS will hope the settlement marks the end of the case that began in February when the Department of Justice demanded access to 52,000 account details. The decision is a blow to Switzerland's famed banking secrecy and could have implications for other wealth managers in the region.
The US government has been pursuing the case in an attempt to find Americans who are hiding money in offshore accounts as US law states the IRS must be informed of offshore accounts that contain more than $10,000.
At the height of the dispute the Swiss government announced it was considering seizing UBS banking records rather than allowing them to be handed over to the DoJ. (Click here to read our coverage of the story) However, the announcement came at the beginning of August that the two governments had reached an agreement in principal to prevent the case from going to court.
This is not the first time the DoJ and UBS have clashed over private clients' wealth. In February the Swiss bank handed over the names of 250 American account holders and agreed to pay $780 million in fees for helping taxpayers to hide money. (Click here to read out coverage of the story)

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