Swiss government denies deal in principle over offshore accounts

Swiss FlagOn Sunday, the Swiss government denied recent media reports that the nation had reached a principle deal with the U.S. over undeclared assets stashed by wealthy Americans in offshore Swiss bank accounts.

“There is no agreed framework,” Swiss government spokesman Mario Tuor said, according to Reuters. “The negotiations for an industry-wide deal to enable all Swiss banks to draw a line under the matter are ongoing.”

Neue Zuercher Zeitung am Sonntag recently reported that some banks, including Julius Baer and Credit Suisse, would negotiate individual penalties with U.S. officials for hiding untaxed funds instead of entering into an industry-wide settlement for the Swiss banking industry.

Wegelin & Co., Switzerland’s oldest bank, was fined close to $58 million earlier this month for its participation in providing wealthy Americans with undisclosed accounts. The bank announced last year that it would shut down completely after pleading guilty to the allegations, Reuters reports.

The announcement comes several years after UBS released client data and paid a $780 million penalty to U.S. officials in 2009 for allegedly helping wealthy Americans hide their money in offshore accounts. Information received during the investigation and disclosures by UBS helped officials launch the second wave of investigations into Swiss financial institutions.

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