by Lisa Swan on June 29, 2011
The United States and Switzerland are at an impasse over Swiss banks allowing Americans “to shield their money from the U.S. taxman,” Reuters reports.
In an exclusive report, the news site says that the Swiss are demanding that their country’s banking officials not face prosecution by the U.S. A spokesperson for Switzerland’s State Secretariat for International Financial Matters said that the negotiations were “still ongoing.”
Reuters says that the countries are negotiating what is called a “global resolution” in which the U.S. “would require the banks to pay a fine, exit their undeclared offshore banking businesses for Americans, and turn over client names to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Justice Department.” The news site says that “in exchange, the agencies would drop their widening criminal investigation into the banks, which include HSBC, Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and Basler Kantonalbank.”
However, the U.S. wants the right to go after the Swiss bank execs if they find out further information, because the global resolution would not cover cases of criminal fraud. A U.S. official who wished to remain anonymous told Reuters, “”If we have a criminal case, do you really think we’re going to drop it.”
A Swiss banking official complained to Reuters that the U.S. Justice Department “seems to be reserving its right to undertake prosecutions even once an agreement has been made. But for Switzerland one of the cornerstones of any agreement is that there is no further risk to employees of any banks of prosecution.”
The deal was supposed to be in place by July 1, but it appears that this date will no longer happen.
Lisa Swan, a former senior new media editor at the New York Daily News, is a columnist for The Faster Times and a blogger for Subway Squawkers. Her work has also appeared in Yahoo Sports, Huffington Post, Heater Magazine, and the upcoming book Graphical Player 2011.