Page last updated at 22:54 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

UBS pays $780m to settle tax case

UBS branch
UBS struck the deal in a federal court in Florida

UBS has agreed to pay $780m (549m) to the US government to settle allegations that it defrauded US tax authorities, the Justice Department has said.

In an unprecedented move, the Swiss banking giant has also agreed to hand over the identities and account information of certain US clients.

UBS was accused of conspiring to create sham accounts to hide clients' assets.

In light of the bank's acknowledging responsibility, the Justice Department recommended dismissing the charge.

The deal was agreed in a federal court in Florida.

Switzerland has strict bank secrecy laws but the country's financial regulator ordered UBS to hand over some client data to the US government.

"The veil of secrecy has been pulled aside and we will continue to aggressively pursue those who shirk their federal tax obligations or assist others in doing so," the Justice Department said in a statement.

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