June 29, 2009
Monique Perry Danziger, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) urges the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to remain steadfast in its pursuit of information about the suspected 52,000 secret bank accounts held by U.S. citizens with Swiss bank UBS.
“This is about bringing to justice tens of thousands of tax-evading Americans and making it clear that the U.S. will no longer tolerate this type of behavior,” said GFI director Raymond Baker. “If we let UBS off the hook with a fine we’re letting the world know that U.S. laws may be flouted, bent, or just plain broken provided you have the cash to pay your way out of trouble.”
Mr. Baker also noted that the U.S.-Switzerland Tax Treaty agreement reached earlier in the month would do little to help tax authorities investigate and prosecute cases of tax evasion.
“The wording of the new agreement states that an exchange of information on tax matters will still only take place in ‘individual cases where a specific and justified request has been made,’” said Mr. Baker. “To see the shortcomings of this agreement just apply the new standard to the current case. U.S. authorities, under the new agreement, would have no additional capacity to obtain information than they do now. In the case of investigating banking secrecy, generating a ‘specific request’ is impossible.”
DOJ is expected to make its next court filing today, followed by a court hearing July 13.