Timeline: U.S./UBS tax deal at impasse

(BestGrowthStock) – The Swiss government is to talk to the U.S. authorities in a bid to resolve a legal impasse that has threatened to derail a key tax deal over UBS client data, it said on Wednesday.

Following is a timeline of major events in the tax row between U.S. authorities and UBS:

June 19, 2008 — A former UBS banker who once smuggled a client’s diamonds into the United States in toothpaste pleads guilty to helping a billionaire hide $200 million from U.S. tax authorities, part of a broader tax evasion probe of UBS.

October 16 — UBS announces it is to get 6 billion Swiss francs ($5.55 billion) from the Swiss government for a 9.3 percent stake and is to unload $60 billion of toxic assets into a new central bank fund.

November 12 — Raoul Weil, head of UBS AG’s wealth management business, is charged with conspiring to help thousands of wealthy Americans hide $20 billion of assets from U.S. tax authorities in Swiss bank accounts.

February 10, 2009 — Posts a 2008 loss of 19.7 billion francs, the biggest ever for a Swiss company. Cuts 2,000 jobs.

February 18 — Agrees to pay $780 million; Swiss regulator FINMA orders UBS to identify certain U.S. clients to settle criminal fraud charges that it assisted rich Americans to evade taxes.

February 19 — U.S. tax authorities say they are still pursuing a civil lawsuit seeking to access details on 52,000 UBS clients.

February 20 — Warns that it could go out of business if it complies with an order to reveal the names of suspected U.S. tax dodgers and would require it to violate Swiss law.

April 2 — U.S. authorities arrest and charge an accountant in Florida in the first of what they say could be a series of tax evasion prosecutions of American clients of UBS.

July 10 — CEO Oswald Gruebel sends a memorandum to bank’s top executives saying it could not comply with the U.S. request to disclose the identity of the 52,000 account holders.

August 18 — A filing in a U.S. federal court shows U.S. authorities are criminally investigating more than 150 U.S. clients of UBS.

August 19 — Switzerland says it will hand over details of about 4,450 bank accounts to U.S. authorities as part of the deal to settle the UBS tax case. It effectively ends a separate civil lawsuit by U.S. authorities that sought up to 52,000 account names.

November 3 — UBS announces its fourth consecutive quarterly loss as it reports disappointing total outflows of 36.6 billion Swiss francs ($35.8 billion).

January 8, 2010 — Bradley Birkenfeld, former UBS banker, starts a 40-month prison term in Pennsylvania after attacking the government for the punishment in light of what he called his cooperation in helping expose thousands of U.S. tax cheats.

January 8 — A Swiss court rules that Swiss regulator FINMA broke bank secrecy law last year when it ordered UBS to hand over the files of nearly 300 clients to U.S. authorities. January 22 — A UBS client wins a Swiss court appeal to prevent her account data from being given to the U.S. authorities, throwing doubt on Switzerland’s ability to deliver details of 4,450 UBS client accounts to the United States.

January 27 — The Swiss government says it will talk to U.S. authorities in a bid to resolve the legal impasse. It says a possible step could be seeking retroactive approval for the UBS deal from the Swiss parliament.

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(Reporting by Sam Cage and Lisa Jucca; Additional writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

Timeline: U.S./UBS tax deal at impasse