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No commission of enquiry over UBS affair

There will be no parliamentary commission of enquiry into UBS’s dealings in the United States and the government's leadership in the financial crisis.

As expected, the Senate voted on Monday against establishing such a commission, burying the idea definitively.

The House of Representatives had voted on Wednesday in favour of the commission. Its task would have been to examine the behaviour of the government and administration which led to the handing over of data about clients of the UBS bank to the US tax authorities, and the agreement reached with the US government to provide administrative assistance over suspected tax cheats.

But a majority of Senate members believed that the report of parliament’s control committees, published two weeks ago, covered the issue adequately.

The committees found that the government had failed in its leadership role, and in particular they criticised Finance Minister Hans Rudolf Merz for being slow to include his cabinet colleagues in the debate of tax evasion issues of wealthy US citizens.

Opponents of the commission of enquiry, mainly from the centre-right Radical and Christian Democrat Parties, said it was better to concentrate on how to implement the recommendations of the control commissions.

Those who wanted a commission, mainly from the centre-left, argued that only a commission of enquiry would have sufficient political weight to clear up all open questions.

Approval of both chambers is needed for a commission of enquiry to be set up. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR