Contrary to reports, DOJ will continue probe of UBS Swiss bank account holders

Earlier this year we reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission had filed an enforcement action against UBS AG, claiming that UBS aided U.S. citizens in the avoidance of taxes by maintaining secret bank accounts in Switzerland and other foreign countries.

UBS agreed to turn over the names of nearly 300 of its Swiss bank account clients, but balked at the U.S. government request to turn over the names of another 52,000 U.S. bank customers. Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Department of Justice was considering dropping its attempt to obtain access to the 52,000 names.

On Tuesday, a Justice Department spokesman said, "There is no basis for the report in The New York Times.... While the department is always willing to consider settlement in any case, the suggestion that the department is planning to drop this suit is simply untrue."

A hearing is scheduled for July 13.

In a related story, last week The Wall Street Journal reported that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner announced that the U.S. and Switzerland had reached an agreement to share information on potential tax evaders. Details of the agreement have not yet been released, and the potential still exists for the Swiss parliament to reject the deal or for Switzerland to initiate a referendum on the subject.

The U.S. Treasury has indicated that any negotiation going forward with the Swiss government, no matter the outcome, will not undermine the civil suit against UBS AG and the attempt to gain information about the 52,000 bank clients and potential tax evaders.

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