Reuters – Sat, Apr 14, 2012 6:55 AM EDT
ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland will allow banks to hand over the names of any employees and other third parties who helped wealthy Americans evade taxes to U.S. prosecutors, a Swiss newspaper reported on Saturday.
In the latest attempt to end the long-running dispute, Switzerland’s Federal Council has now authorized banks to hand over email traffic in connection with such clients to U.S. prosecutors, the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper reported.
This includes the names of employees and where applicable third parties, such as external wealth managers, lawyers and trustees, but not client data, the paper said.
It said Mario Tuor, a spokesman for the Swiss secretariat for international financial affairs, confirmed this in a statement. He could not immediately be reached for comment.
U.S. authorities suspect tens of thousands of Americans have used Swiss banks to squirrel their savings away from the tax inspectors.
Switzerland is trying to get the investigations dropped, in return for the payment of a hefty fine and the transfer of names of thousands of U.S. bank clients. It is also seeking a deal to shield the remainder of its 300 or so banks from U.S. prosecution.
In an interview published on Friday, Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said she expects to clinch a solution with the United States this year.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)