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Minister urges parliament to agree US bank deal

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has warned of serious consequences if parliament refuses to approve a deal with the United States over the bank UBS.

“The US tax authorities would resume a civil procedure against UBS and the legal case could be re-activated,” Calmy-Rey told the SonntagsZeitung and Le Matin Dimanche newspapers.

Washington could refuse to ratify a new double taxation agreement which would damage Switzerland’s economy, she added.

“The US might also consider taking action against other Swiss banks,” she said.

In line with her centre-left Social Democratic Party, Calmy-Rey came out in favour of linking approval of the deal, to be discussed in parliament in June, with a tax on manager bonus payments and measures to reduce the size of banks.

Under the accord, which was signed last August, Switzerland is to process and hand over up to 4,450 US client data of the UBS bank suspected of tax evasion.

However, earlier this year a court ruled earlier that the transfer is subject to approval of the deal by parliament. Centre-left and rightwing parties have threatened reject the agreement.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch

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