Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Swiss, U.S. Seen Needing Time to Ink UBS Tax Deal

The August 3rd deadline for a settlement between Switzerland and the U.S. on the UBS case seems unlikely, according to several sources close to the case. Alibaba.com recently published a great article on the topic, explaining why a settlement is so hard to reach, and what the outcome is likely to be. You can read a segment of the story below.

Talks between Switzerland and the United States to end a tax row targeting UBS could stretch beyond an Aug. 3 deadline to allow more time for a detailed settlement, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.

U.S. tax authorities are seeking to force Swiss wealth management giant UBS to disclose the identity of an estimated 52,000 U.S. holders of secret Swiss accounts suspected of dodging taxes even though this breaches Swiss bank secrecy laws.

A trial against UBS was scheduled to start in Miami on July 13 but presiding judge Alan Gold agreed to delay it until Aug. 3 to allow time for a settlement.

A status call between Gold and lawyers from UBS and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service on July 29 could be an opportunity for an announcement of a delay. A meeting between Swiss Finance Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is also scheduled on July 31.

"I would not be surprised if during the July 29 call or at the weekend there may be another request for a delay," a source familiar with the situation told Reuters.

Many investors believe the judge will again postpone the trial as the tax talks are complex and working out a deal that without further weakening bank secrecy requires time.

"Nothing will happen on Wednesday. The parties will agree to postpone the deadline until September to reach an agreement," a Swiss-based trader told Reuters.

Two Swiss-based sources familiar with the situation said a deal was unlikely to come before July 29.

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