UBS v IRS: Tax Evasion Steps Into the Light, Plus Fun with Government-Owned Banking
Do you think the fact that the United States is technically insolvent "encouraged" this move? Just pointing out the obvious. China is going to unload our debt? Who cares, let's go find the tax cheats! Yeehaw!!
Hint: OMGObama has about 7 tax cheats in his cabinet (*coughI'mtalkingaboutyouTimGeithnercough*). Instead of banging down UBS' door, perhaps we should start there?
The United States is building criminal cases against more than 150 American clients of Swiss bank UBS as part of a crackdown on tax evasion now made easier by a deal over access to secret account information.
U.S. prosecutors gave their first official confirmation of the initial number of criminal investigations in a filing on Tuesday with a federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
In the same court document, the prosecutors requested a sharply reduced prison sentence for ex-UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld, a key informant in the ongoing U.S. prosecutions of wealthy American clients of UBS.
The request was made a day before U.S. and Swiss authorities were due to announce details of a negotiated settlement of their legal dispute over access to further names of UBS clients suspected of cheating U.S. tax collectors.
In the court filing, prosecutors said evidence provided by Birkenfeld had been critical in obtaining information from UBS that directly led to the investigations into the more than 150 Americans "who are believed to have concealed income and assets at UBS" from U.S. tax authorities.
Citing the settlement, due to be finalized on Wednesday, the filing said: "It is expected that ... UBS will produce the identities and account information of additional UBS customers who are believed to have violated United States law."
Wait a minute, is this a hostile takeover?
The Swiss government will probably sell its stake in UBS AG in the days following the settlement of a U.S. lawsuit that sought data on the bank’s American clients, two people familiar with the matter said.
The Swiss and U.S. governments, which initialed an accord on the tax case Aug. 12, may publish details of the final agreement as soon as tomorrow, said the people, who declined to be identified because no announcement has been made. The sale of the UBS holding is likely to occur by the end of the month, one of the people said.
Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz has said he aims to sell the stake in UBS as quickly as possible and at least recoup the government’s 6 billion-franc ($5.6 billion) investment, without destabilizing the bank. Settlement of the U.S. lawsuit, which sought disclosure of as many as 52,000 accounts, removes a risk to UBS and provides an opportunity for the state to exit, the people said.
“We didn’t invest to leave the money there,” Merz, 66, told members of the upper house of parliament in Bern last week. “We’ll dispose of the investment as soon as the conditions are good.”
Meaning "we'll hide the bodies before the rest of the shit hits the fan, mmmkay?"
What in God's name is going on here? Reason #524,723 why government should not get involved in business. Also curiously buried on Bloomberg today, Goldman Sachs is happy to sniff around at the carcass and get a piece:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will replace UBS AG as an arranger of Evergrande Real Estate Group Ltd.’s $1 billion initial public share sale in Hong Kong, said three people with knowledge of the transaction.
UBS left the underwriting team because of demands made by the Guangzhou, China-based developer, said the people, declining to be identified because the information isn’t public. Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch & Co. unit and BOC International (Holdings) Ltd. are also arranging the sale, the people said.
This is so fucking adorable I can't even take it.