Canada to sue UBS over list of clients if they do not release names
It was just a matter of time before someone else tried to obtain names of Swiss banking clients after the success of the US.
Canada, which is trying to clamp down on tax evasion, is prepared to take Swiss bank UBS (UBSN.VX) (UBS.N) to court if necessary to compel it to hand over details of Canadians who might be account holders, a government minister said on Wednesday.
Ottawa has been pressing UBS since early September for the names, but has had no success.
National Revenue Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn said 90 people have voluntarily disclosed their UBS accounts to Ottawa. The government has reached deals with 44 of them, raising an extra C$15.3 million ($14.6 million) in tax revenue in the process.
"We are still discussing with UBS authorities to try to obtain that list of Canadians who are on their list, who have (accounts in) tax havens abroad," he told reporters.
"It's not easy. If we realize that it won't be possible to obtain it, if they just try to obtain time, we will go (to) court to obtain this list."
Blackburn did not say at what point the government would end the talks with UBS and go to court.
Earlier this year a high-profile U.S. lawsuit against UBS AG prompted the bank to agree to promise to reveal the names of 4,450 client accounts held by Americans.
Offshore private banking involves managing the wealth of rich clients from a foreign location. Some have exploited the system to avoid paying taxes, especially if transactions are carried out in traditional banking secrecy strongholds.
Last month U.S. officials said some 14,700 rich Americans, worried about a crackdown on offshore tax cheats, had turned themselves in under a government amnesty program.
Last edited by OffshorePrivacy; 12-02-2009 at 09:47 PM..