Swiss deny offering $10 billion to end US tax probe

AFP, Monday 7 Nov 2011

Economy ministry blasts newspaper claim that Switzerland offered the sum to US tax authorities to regularise American assets stashed in Swiss banks

Switzerland denied on Monday offering $10 billion to settle a tax evasion dispute with the United States, saying that the sum cited by local press was "rather impossible."

An economy ministry spokesman told AFP that "we did not make a proposal" with a figure, .
He said: "A sum of $10 billion is rather impossible."
Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported on Sunday that Switzerland had offered to pay the amount to US tax authorities to regularise assets hidden by Americans in Swiss banks.
It quoted a lawyer close to the US Justice Department confirming the information.
The United States has been exerting intense pressure on Bern over its banking secrecy rules, which Washington claims help to shield tax cheats.
A tax evasion investigation is currently ongoing against 11 Swiss banks, including Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and Zuercher KantonalBank.
In its third-quarter earnings report, Credit Suisse said it had set aside 295 million francs (242 million euros, $327 million) in provisions for the case.
The widened probe against Swiss banks follows a successful offensive against Switzerland's biggest bank UBS, which was forced to pay $780 million in fine and to send details of 4,000 clients to US tax authorities.
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