The title of the article by Lynnley Browning is:
“Swiss agree on penalties for banks that aided tax cheats”
A review of the article suggests that the U.S. government is attempting to impose on Swiss Banks a program that is like the “OVDI-OVDP” program.
The article begins with:
Switzerland and the United States reached a watershed deal on Thursday to punish Swiss banks that helped wealthy Americans stash money in hidden offshore accounts, closing the door on an era of bank secrecy and tax evasion.
The formal agreement, which was announced on Thursday by the Justice Department in Washington and will be presented by Swiss authorities on Friday, outlined formulas for Swiss banks to pay up to billions of dollars in fines and disclose information about American account holders, a joint statement said.
– an agreement to NOT prosecute if the banks do a voluntary disclosure of balances of accounts held by U.S. persons in Switzerland;
The agreement said that Swiss banks that follow the program will be eligible to enter nonprosecution agreements that do not involve guilty pleas or criminal penalties.
– in return for non-prosecution the banks agree to pay a penalty based on the top dollar value of undisclosed accounts;
Banks that held accounts as of Aug. 1, 2008, will pay a fine equal to 20 percent of the top dollar value of all nondisclosed accounts. The fine increases to 30 percent for secret accounts opened after that date but before March 2009, and to 50 percent for accounts opened after that.
(Note that those who came into compliance earlier will pay less.)
– if a bank is already under investigation they are not eligible for the program;
Significantly, the deal does not cover 14 Swiss banks and Swiss branches of international banks that are under criminal investigation by the United States authorities, includingCredit Suisse, Julius Baer and several regional banks. Instead, it effectively covers the rest of the Swiss banking industry, home to a tradition of bank confidentiality and laws that have not considered tax evasion a crime. By some estimates, Switzerland is home to more than $2 trillion in overseas deposits
– as a condition of entering OVDP for banks, the participating bank agrees to provide information on other banks, U.S. person account holders and their advisors;
The deal calls for stiff measures that lift the veil of Swiss secrecy. Banks will be required to provide the details on accounts in which American taxpayers have an interest through treaty channels, inform on other banks that transferred money into secret accounts or that accepted money when secret accounts were closed, disclose all cross-border activities, and close the accounts of Americans who are evading taxes.
– this new OVDP program for the banks is to put further pressure on U.S. citizens to abroad to enter their own OVDP;
The agreement will also turn up the heat on American clients who have not already entered voluntary disclosure programs with the Internal Revenue Service.
(How many innocent U.S. citizens abroad that just happen to have a bank account in Switzerland will be terrorized into entering OVDP?)
– and finally in addition to recognizing Swiss Banks and U.S. citizens (including those living abroad) as their enemies, the Obama administration vilifies Senator Rand Paul (yes, he must be responsible for tax evasion);
A stumbling block may still exist. The deal calls for both sides to use information exchange channels outlined in existing treaties. But the United States has not yet ratified a 2009 treaty protocol that would ease that disclosure, with Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, blocking approval, arguing that it would give the I.R.S. too much power and violate Americans’ right to privacy.
The possible next step …
The U.S. is clearly on a mission to confiscate assets throughout the world.
In the beginning, there was OVDP for individuals.
Now we have OVDP for banks.
Coming soon, OVDP for financial advisors.
The solution to this is for the U.S. to simply absorb all the other sovereign nations of the world. Once we become one country, there will be no more “offshore accounts”. But, how would fines be imposed then?
Conclusion and message to U.S. citizens abroad …
You better enter OVDP before your bank does! (Actually you should NOT enter OVDP without your lawyer explaining why it is the appropriate option for you.)