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UK and Australia seek UBS data

Source: Reuters - Mon 9th Nov 2009

Authorities in Britain and Australia have requested information from UBS after the Swiss bank agreed in August to disclose some 4,450 client names to settle a U.S. tax case, the bank confirmed on Sunday.

UBS said in a note to its third-quarter financial statement, published last week, that tax and regulatory authorities in a number of jurisdictions had requested information on cross-border wealth management services provided by UBS and other banks.

The British and Australian tax authorities confirmed that investigations were underway, Swiss newspaper Sonntag reported on Sunday, but said they declined to give further details.

UBS only said in its statement that the British and Australians had requested information on offshore services from UBS and other Swiss and non-Swiss financial institutions.

"UBS is cooperating with these information requests strictly within the limits of financial privacy obligations under Swiss law. It is premature to speculate on the outcome of any such inquiries" it said.

The Sonntag newspaper said Credit Suisse declined to comment on whether it had also been contacted.

The U.S. investigation into how UBS helped rich Americans hide money in Switzerland has hurt the bank's reputation and prompted offshore customers to withdraw assets, with the bank reporting last week that third-quarter net outflows totalled 36.6 billion Swiss francs (22 billion pounds).

The Sonntag newspaper said that the Swiss tax authorities would on November 17 reveal the precise criteria determining which UBS client data is handed over to the U.S. authorities.

That is also the day that the bank is due to present its new strategy at an investor day, which Sonntag said would include a focus on growth in Asia and a return to profitability in its slimmed-down investment bank. 

A UBS spokeswoman declined to comment on the details of the investor day.

($1=1.015 Swiss francs)

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