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UBS faces hefty legal bill

The government incurred costs of about SFr9 million ($8.7 million) in personnel costs and travel in settling UBS bank's legal problems with the United States.

This content was published on September 14, 2009 - 10:51

In an answer to a parliamentary question, the government said on Friday that diplomatic costs and travel by cabinet members had cost SFr5 million, while back-up work had cost another SFr4 million.

The federal tax administration had to call on "considerable personnel resources", using both its own staff and external helpers.

The government is now seeing whether it can pass on the costs to UBS, by claiming its efforts as a service which is subject to a fee. However, there is currently no clear legal basis for this.

It was reported in August that meeting US requests for legal assistance arising from the settlement would cost SFr40 million. UBS chairman Kaspar Villiger said the bank was ready to repay these costs.

The crisis was sparked by revelations that UBS had helped wealthy US clients to avoid US taxes. The US revenue service was preparing to take UBS to court to force it to reveal details of such clients – which would have violated Swiss law.

The court case was averted when the Swiss government came to a deal with the US authorities in August.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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