NEW YORK (AP) – A federal judge on Monday authorized the Internal Revenue Service to require UBS AG to produce records about U.S. taxpayers who may hold bank accounts in Switzerland to evade hundreds of millions in federal income taxes.
U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III signed an order authorizing the IRS to issue a summons for information about U.S. taxpayers who may hold accounts at the Swiss bank Wegelin & Co. and other Switzerland-based banks.
Wegelin has no U.S. branches but uses a UBS account to conduct business here, which is why the order applies to UBS.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the summons was “the latest step in our efforts to identify and prosecute U.S. taxpayers who think they can evade their legal responsibility to pay taxes by secreting their money away in anonymous off-shore accounts at Wegelin and other banks, and to recover hundreds of millions of dollars that is owed to the IRS.”
Wegelin pleaded guilty Jan. 3 to conspiring with at least 100 U.S. taxpayers to hide more than $1.2 billion in secret Swiss bank accounts from 2002 to 2011, agreeing to pay $74 million in all, including fines and restitution. At the time, prosecutors said Wegelin in 2008 and 2009 opened and serviced dozens of new accounts for U.S. taxpayers as it tried to capture clients lost by UBS after word surfaced that that UBS was being investigated for helping U.S. taxpayers evade taxes and hide assets in Swiss bank accounts.
Wegelin employees told U.S. taxpayer-clients that their undeclared accounts would not be disclosed to U.S. authorities because the bank had a long tradition of secrecy, prosecutors said. They added that the employees persuaded U.S. taxpayer-clients to move money from UBS to Wegelin by claiming that, unlike UBS, Wegelin did not have offices outside of Switzerland and would be less vulnerable to U.S. law enforcement.
Wegelin, headquartered in St. Gallen, Switzerland, said in a statement at the time of the plea that it had cooperated with the probe “within the bounds allowed for by Swiss law” since learning that it was under U.S. investigation.
A message left with a lawyer for UBS for comment was not immediately returned.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments