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Swiss bank tax trial postponed.

MIAMI: A judge yesterday postponed the opening of a trial in a lawsuit seeking to force Swiss financial giant UBS to reveal the identities of thousands of US clients with offshore accounts.

The judge agreed to a request from the US and Swiss governments as well as UBS to put off the start of the trial until August 3 to give all parties time to negotiate a settlement.

US authorities are asking a federal court to order UBS to reveal the names of American offshore account holders, saying the Swiss bank "systematically and deliberately" violated US laws.

The case stems from a lawsuit filed earlier this year and affects as many as 52,000 US taxpayers suspected of holding UBS offshore accounts to avoid paying US taxes.

Legal analysts say the case calls for a diplomatic rather than courtroom solution because it involves conflicting laws from two countries, but that a settlement will be difficult.

The Justice Department said that if no settlement is reached, it "will continue to vigorously pursue enforcement of the summons through the court."

UBS employed 26,934 people in the US at the end of March, more than in its home country of Switzerland, where 25,889 were employed.

Its Wealth Management Americas division managed a massive $618 billion worth of assets at the end of the first three months this year.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jul 14, 2009
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