Biz Brief: Swiss Parliament Approves Tax-Cheaters Treaty

Wealthy U.S. tax dodgers may be sitting on edge after the Swiss parliament reluctantly approved a treaty with the United States Tuesday under which Switzerland would hand over the names of thousands of suspected U.S. tax cheats to the IRS, according to an Associated Press report. The treaty is intended to quell U.S. threats to prosecute Switzerland's largest bank UBS (UBS), which has acknowledged it conspired with its clients to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. UBS has agreed to turn over 4,450 of its account holder names.

The treaty is not a totally done deal. The Swiss Parliament's Lower House voted to give its citizens the chance to vote on the measure in a popular referendum before the treaty becomes law. Switzerland's Upper House of Parliament is expected to vote on the referendum proposal on Friday. But if the treaty is ultimately put to a referendum, it would force the country to miss the U.S.-imposed August deadline to resolve the issue, since a vote by Swiss residents couldn't be held until the fall, according to the AP report.

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