U.S. Justice Department may settle UBS tax evasion case

The Justice Department may drop its dispute with UBS (UBS) some time before the next court hearing on July 13, according to a report in The New York Times today. The suit involved the release of 52,000 names of wealthy Americans suspected of holding offshore accounts for the purpose of tax evasion.

If the U.S. drops the case it would halt its efforts to force Switzerland to lift its veil of banking secrecy. Both the Swiss government and UBS have mounted a fierce lobbying campaign to persuade the U.S. to drop the case. UBS argues that it would be forced to violate Swiss financial secrecy laws and open its executives and bankers to prosecution in Switzerland.