WASHINGTON -- The Swiss government has agreed to "review and process" additional requests by the United States for information from Swiss banks besides UBS AG about account holders suspected of evading U.S. taxes, the U.S. government said Wednesday.
The U.S. and Swiss governments signed a pact on Wednesday for giant Swiss bank UBS to turn over account information involving thousands of Americans believed to have evaded U.S. taxes for years.
The agreement would end a case that has strained U.S.-Swiss relations and would also pierce vaunted Swiss bank secrecy which has frustrated U.S. tax authorities for decades.
Under the pact, the Swiss government will tell UBS to turn over information about some 4,450 accounts that are active or have already been closed, according to documents provided by the U.S. Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service.
The bank has already turned over information about some 250 clients. If UBS did not follow through on its commitment, then the United States said it could revive its efforts to compel the bank to turn over the information.
The Swiss government has also agreed to review and process more requests for "information from other banks regarding their account holders to the extent that such a request is based on a pattern of facts and circumstances equivalent to those of the UBS case," the U.S. Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service said.
There is a voluntary disclosure program for Americans to come forward about offshore accounts that runs through Sept. 23. However, IRS officials said that those who do not come forward before they are identified could face civil or criminal prosecution.
"Every time someone walks in the door we learn more about who's hiding assets and what banks are helping to facilitate it," IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman told reporters during a conference call.
Already four U.S. customers of UBS have been prosecuted successfully.
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