Page last updated at 14:11 GMT, Wednesday, 12 August 2009 15:11 UK

US and UBS agree to end tax row

UBS branch
UBS is Switzerland's largest bank

The US government and UBS have taken another step closer to resolving their dispute over tax evasion by US customers of the Swiss bank.

US Justice Department attorney Stuart Gibson said the two sides had now agreed or "initialled" the details of an out-of-court settlement.

However, he added that it would still "take a little time for the agreements to be signed in final form".

Details of the agreement between the two sides have yet to be released.

Mr Gibson said Washington would end its legal action in the US against UBS when the final deal is signed.

His comments came in a conference call to District Judge Alan Gold, who is residing over the case.

Mr Gibson said both the US government and UBS were now asking for a trial hearing set for 17 August to be cancelled, and that they would call for the case to be dismissed when the final agreement documents are filed.

Swiss bank secrecy

The deal looks set to end a stand-off that has lasted months.

The US Justice Department has been seeking the names of more than 50,000 US customers with Swiss accounts.

But UBS has maintained that divulging the names would violate Swiss bank secrecy laws.

In February, UBS admitted to tax fraud in the US and agreed to pay $780m (£467m) as part of a provisional deal to settle charges that it helped thousands of US clients use Swiss bank accounts to evade taxes.

UBS also handed over a limited number of account details.

But US officials argued this was not enough, and launched a fresh legal challenge to obtain the identities of all the bank's US account holders.

UBS shares in New York were up 1% on the news.

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