NATIONAL BRIEFING

NATIONAL BRIEFING

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Friday, November 28, 2008

BANKING

UBS Cites Fraud by U.S. Clients

The Swiss bank UBS has uncovered cases of tax fraud by U.S. clients, chairman Peter Kurer said. UBS examined its files as a result of investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and others into cross-border services the bank provides, Kurer told shareholders.

"Our investigations have uncovered a limited number of cases of tax fraud under both U.S. and Swiss law," he said. He gave no further details.

Kurer said UBS would provide information to U.S. authorities on those cases because they are unprotected by Swiss bank secrecy. "Contrary to the idea conjured up in public discussions, bank secrecy is not absolute," Kurer said.

Swiss law distinguishes between tax fraud, which it regards as a crime, and tax evasion, which is an administrative offense. Under banking secrecy, Swiss authorities can cooperate with other countries' investigations into tax fraud but not into tax evasion.

Separately, Kurer said, former executives who oversaw massive losses at Swiss banking giant will repay a further $18.45 million. The repayments by the unidentified individuals bring to nearly $59 million the amount of money handed back to the bank by executives in the past year.

GLOBAL CRISIS

Countries Move on IMF Aid

Latvian Prime Minister Ivars Godmanis said his government submitted an aid plan to the International Monetary Fund in an attempt to stabilize his country's financial system. The plan projects a 5 percent economic contraction next year and a budget deficit within the European Union's limit, 3 percent of gross domestic product.

Turkey's discussions with the IMF on a new lending accord are at an advanced stage, Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek said. The fund is demanding significant fiscal adjustments, and agreement will depend on whether the government can persuade the fund on some areas, Simsek said.

Pakistan received the first tranche of a $7.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, a bailout package aimed at stabilizing the economy as it fights an increase in Islamist violence.

SOUTH KOREA

Supermarkets Sell U.S. Beef

South Korea's supermarket chains resumed selling U.S. beef nearly five months after the government lifted an import ban imposed over fears of mad cow disease.


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© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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