The Swiss government has turned the UBS AG tax evasion case into a major affaire diplomatique. In an amicus filing, Switzerland said UBS would violate Swiss bank secrecy laws if the bank complied with any U.S. court order to reveal the names of 52,000 Americans suspected of using UBS accounts to duck the tax man. Therefore, Switzerland will order UBS not to comply and could even seize UBS documents to prevent disclosure.
“When the Government of Switzerland issues such an order, it will be an Act of State,” the Swiss government said in the amicus filing, throwing down the gauntlet.
This afternoon, U.S. District Judge Alan Gold asked the Department of Justice to prepare a response to the Swiss government’s ultimatum by Sunday at noon, “after consultations with the Executive Branch, the Department of State and/or other relevant government agencies.”
Specifically, Gold wants to know “what remedies the United States is prepared to request of this Court… in the event the Petition is granted and there is non-compliance.”
The U.S. needs to explain “how far it intends to proceed by way of request for enforcement, up through and including receivership and/or seizure of UBS’ assets within the United States,” Gold wrote.
You can download the order here.