Jump to content
Your browser is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this websites. Learn how to update your browser[Close]

WikiLeaks claims US and Swiss struck UBS deal

A document revealed by whistleblowing internet site WikiLeaks appears to show that Switzerland struck a deal with the United States in 2009 to help embattled bank UBS.

A “secret” US dispatch published by Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper alleged that the Swiss government had said it would shut down the activities of the Swedish firm Colenco which was believed to be violating sanctions in Iran.

Last year’s Swiss president, Doris Leuthard, had also reaffirmed to the US that Switzerland was prepared to accept “several detainees” from the US prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Leuthard is said to have linked both to the achievement of a political settlement in the case of Swiss banking giant UBS. The minister denied the claims on Thursday.

“There is no direct connection between the UBS dossier and the acceptance of detainees from Guantanamo as well as the activities of the Colenco company in Switzerland,” she told journalists.

“As you know, the government mentioned its willingness to accept Guantanamo detainees on January 21, 2009 after US President Barack Obama had announced the closure of the base.”

She added that Colenco was closed as a result of a United Nations sanctions procedure carried out by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. However, Leuthard's ministry pointed out on Thursday afternoon that Colenco's Iran activities had in fact been suspended, but not stopped altogether.

Meanwhile, Colenco said on Thursday that it had never been involved in uranium enrichment in Iran. As it told the Swiss News Agency, its business there involves pumped storage power plants.

UBS agreed to pay $780 million (SFr744.5 million) to the US in February 2009 for helping US clients avoid taxes. The US later demanded that it divulge the names of 52,000 Americans suspected of using secret offshore accounts at the bank to dodge taxes.

In the end, after a settlement and a treaty approved by the Swiss parliament, a total of about 4,500 customer files were handed over to the US authorities.

Switzerland in March 2010 accepted two Uighur brothers from China who had been Guantanamo detainees.

swissinfo.ch and agencies



All rights reserved. The content of the website by swissinfo.ch is copyrighted. It is intended for private use only. Any other use of the website content beyond the use stipulated above, particularly the distribution, modification, transmission, storage and copying requires prior written consent of swissinfo.ch. Should you be interested in any such use of the website content, please contact us via contact@swissinfo.ch.

As regards the use for private purposes, it is only permitted to use a hyperlink to specific content, and to place it on your own website or a website of third parties. The swissinfo.ch website content may only be embedded in an ad-free environment without any modifications. Specifically applying to all software, folders, data and their content provided for download by the swissinfo.ch website, a basic, non-exclusive and non-transferable license is granted that is restricted to the one-time downloading and saving of said data on private devices. All other rights remain the property of swissinfo.ch. In particular, any sale or commercial use of these data is prohibited.