Today, Wall Street Journal reports that a Miami court has set meeting Friday between the IRS and UBS to look at where they are in settlement negotiations over the case of the IRS demanding that the Swiss bank turn over the names of more then 50,000 U.S. citizens alleged to be tax evaders.
As I have said in past posts on this issue (in which I have been admittedly hard on UBS-but with a purpose), and as UBS seems to now be reiterating, turning over those names would be in contradiction of Switzerland’s banking privacy laws and its legal view of tax evasion. Banks in Switzerland are not required to ignore their country’s banking secrecy laws simply because another nation requests them to do so. This is a sticking point for the IRS, who is using the DoJ to try and get after UBS. Another factor in the fight to get UBS to crack is the growing pressure from other nations and international NGOs like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) with its agenda, and Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with its “retaliatory measures,” mentioned in earlier posts. These groups are using the straw men of money laundering and terrorism to force Swiss capitulation. It has reached a point of absurdity. Aside from the U.S. government’s attempts at intimidation, the German government even suggested placing Switzerland on the international blacklist. I guess “Everybody Hates Switzerland” now, until they can get their hands on that money.
Of course, the average citzen is not concerned about the rights of those who can afford to have swiss bank accounts. Although they should be. This not only raises concerns about financial privacy, it also raises concerns about sovereignty, civil rights, and a host of other things. A person’s financial records should be considered as sacred as their medical records. However, we may soon be entering an era where both are collected and archived by the government. Only a person who believes Stalin was an OK guy would think that was a good idea.