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Bank client emails in the hands of US

Swiss banks have handed over encoded access to millions of emails to the United States tax authorities, Swiss public radio has reported.

Full access to the information will only be provided when a tax agreement is in place between the two countries.

Swiss Finance Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf informed a parliamentary economics commission that Credit Suisse and seven other Swiss banks wanted to make concessions to the United States by offering information about client relations.

According to research by German-language public radio station, DRS, – the data offered includes communication between bank advisors and their clients. Four to six million emails are reported to be involved.

Switzerland is in the process of negotiating a tax agreement with the US to address the problem of US tax evaders hiding money in Switzerland. The negotiations have stalled because the US, which wants a fine in the billions, is demanding to see more bank client data.

Most recently, Widmer-Schlumpf said after meeting US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in Davos last Thursday that a deal to end the tax evasion row with the US could come later this year.

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