UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, will pay $780 million and disclose the names of some secret account holders to avoid U.S. prosecution on a charge that it helped thousands of wealthy Americans evade tax
The Justice Department accused UBS of conspiring to defraud the U.S. by helping 17,000 Americans hide accounts from the Internal Revenue Service. The U.S. will drop the charge in 18 months if the bank reforms its practices, helps prosecutors and makes payments. UBS will immediately turn over names of about 250 clients, according to people familiar with the matter.
By gaining those names, the U.S. will pierce the veil of Swiss bank secrecy. The IRS, which has sought the names of all U.S. account holders since July, has met resistance from the Swiss government. The final number of account holders Zurich- based UBS must disclose will hinge on future legal battles, according to the agreement.