On the recent US vs. Swiss/UBS tax evasion scandal

New York, NY

We don't negotiate with self proclaimed "terrorists", but we do with tax evading crooks? Outrageous! It's people like this who corrupt the world and bring it to its knees. Terrorists are mere reactions to these criminals' selfish doings all over the globe.

Nelson Alexander
New York City

Americans' must get used to the idea that, yes, we do have a class society. The Swiss bank account is one clear indication. Even in the High Middle Ages, nobles insisted that they did not have to pay taxes. The attitude held for the American upper class in the Gilded Age. Today the U.S. plutocratic class still considers taxes an injustice, since they can live in several countries and do not require most public services, such as public schools or commercial airlines.

Unfortunately, the concept of class struggle has been so distorted in the U.S. that is is now employed primarily by the right wing, such as commenter no. 25. Through sheer repetition, the right wing has linked "rich" and "liberal" through classic behavioral conditioning. I hope this UBS investigation will eventually get around to former Senator and UBS director Phil Gramm. Hard to believe he wasn't into this up to his shifty eyeballs.

Commenter #25: JD, Pottwtown, Pa

Lot's of rich Liberal folks in the NE and California who voted for this administration because of guilt feelings will now be sorry when their names are plastered in the public.
Arlington, VA

Invading privacy, painting tens of thousands of Americans guilty until proven innocent, imposing upon another nation's sovereignty and primary industry, and all for political purposes. And this is OK?

It will generate some great press releases and conferences as the IRS and administration can point to more scapegoats from the rich, but this will not generate a lot of revenue.

Of course, this is being addressed primarily and it appears entirely a political matter. There is no discussion in analyzing what is driving so many Americans to set up off-shore accounts or what will be the future consequences affecting future revenues.

Let's not forget that the wealthy pay a vast majority of all taxes in the United States. If the government is going to be so determined to increased their tax burden and go to such great lengths to make sure that they pay all of it, lets not forget all of this is paying for programs and services that they decreasingly benefit from, are all of these individuals going to sit idly bye and happily pay more and get shoved around by the government ensuring that they do?

If I had the wealth and means to protect my property from it being squandered by politicians, I would seriously consider doing so and without remorse because I am confident that I would be investing and allocating my money and property much more efficiently and effectively than the government. Property is the right of the individual, not the government.

I'm sorry, but the best incentive to decrease tax avoidance is to lower taxes and ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely and efficiently. Unfortunately, it is much easier to raise taxes on the rich while persecuting and prosecuting them.

I don't see how this improves anything. This course of action is going create more incentives for those with the means to move themselves and their property out of the country. Why would they want to stick around to finance the bulk of government operations while that same government confiscates more and more income meanwhile persecuting you for being wealthy enough to pay so much to begin with?


This nonsense of the Swiss providing legal cover for their money laundering operations needs to end forcefully. In a global modern world where the wealthy oligarchs are impoverishing the world's citizens as they create a new feudal economic order, these bastions of deception and deceit must be torn down and destroyed.

Oslo, Norway

Great news this is. Switzerland bank secrecy is nothing but immoral; the holocaust victims gold and cash deposits, the horrible dictators from the most needy countires' hauls and rich folks dodging their responsibilities to contribute in societies where they've made their wealth.
This also seems to be a country that wants to profit from the world without being part of it; parasitic. Their hype about protecting banking secrecy is nothing but a front for money laundering of looted riches and I hope their banks and businesses can be given the choice of either joining the rest of the world or burying what they've already looted in their freezing cold alpine bunkers.
Not even sure whether they are in the UN; and why are many UN agencies headquatered in their cities and generating all the money for a people that are skeptical of being part of the world.

Stephan Loeb
Basel, Switzerland

First of all, shame on the NYT for such sloppy journalism: This is not about a settlement between UBS and the IRS. This is about an agreement between the Swiss and the US governments. The consequences of the agreement are:
- The civil case filed by the justice department on behalf of the IRS will be closed.
- Based on certain non-disclosed criterions defined in the treaty UBS will hand over information about 4450 US bank clients to the Swiss financial department
The US will respect Swiss law and therefore use the foreseen legal procedure that is the US justice department will request legal assistance from the Swiss government
- In the treaty the Swiss government promises to process the 4450 accounts within a year, but only and exclusively within the Swiss legal framework. This means that all 4450 US clients can sue against the final decision of the Swiss financial department at the Federal Administrative Court ("Bundesverwaltungsgericht").

For folks who want to understand what this is about:

R. P.

This is not necessarily about tax avoidance by US citizens; this is about the Swiss constitution, where the freedom rights of the individual are second to none.

Of course, some people or companies (Swiss and foreign) misuse the Swiss freedom rights. But that's the price the Swiss society is willing to pay for the freedom rights of the individual.

Swiss Government Agencies are not powered with intrusive rights - as long as there is no clear evidence of criminal activity going on.

Presumably this kind of constitution only works well in a small democratic country. But I guess it would be mind-blowing for many Americans to come over and see how a truly democratic society works. And if more Americans felt secure and content in their country, there would be less temptation to misuse foreign systems as a personal tax avoidance scheme.

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