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Swiss parliament split on referendum for UBS deal

Swiss lawmakers failed to resolve a split on Wednesday on whether to allow a referendum on a treaty with the United States that will hand Washington thousands of files on suspected tax cheats.



Geneva: Swiss lawmakers failed to resolve a
split on Wednesday on whether to allow a referendum on a treaty with
the United States that will hand Washington thousands of files
on suspected tax cheats.

Parliament`s upper and lower house will now have to
hammer out a compromise tomorrow.
Yesterday, lawmakers in Switzerland`s lower house
accepted the deal that will see the country`s biggest bank,
UBS AG, divulge the names of 4,450 American clients suspected
of tax evasion to US authorities. But the lower house also
voted to allow the Swiss public to approve the deal in a
referendum before it becomes law - a move the upper house has
repeatedly rejected.
Agreement between the two houses is necessary for the
final approval of the deal, which the government hopes will
eventually end UBS`s three-year battle with US tax authorities
that culminated in revelations the bank had for years helped
American clients hide millions of dollars in offshore
accounts.

The Internal Revenue Service has said the US tax agency
expects Switzerland to honour the agreement to divulge the
names by August - a deadline the Swiss would likely miss if a
referendum is called.

PTI

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