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Scott Michel Quoted on Swissinfo.ch, No Let-Up in US Fight Against Tax Evasion

April 4, 2012, swissinfo.ch
Excerpt taken from the article.

While uncertainty surrounds negotiations with the United States on a global bank accord, Washington has cut the number of investigators assigned to fighting tax evasion.

But this measure does not mean the US is softening its hard line towards the Swiss banks or that the Obama administration has revised its priorities.

The Bloomberg news agency reported on March 27 that the US Justice Office has reduced the number of investigators and prosecutors in its fiscal service by 30 percent.

Quoting four anonymous sources,the article said 25 of 95 members of this service had been seconded for six months to regional offices of the federal prosecutor. Three others had been permanently transferred.

Charles Miller, spokesman for the US Department of Justice (DoJ), confirmed the personnel changes but downplayed their significance.

"This move doesn't mean anything in particular, it's a temporary situation until sometime in September when those prosecutors will come back here to Washington," he told swissinfo.ch. "Off-shore non-compliance remains a priority for this government."

Scott Michel, a lawyer representing dozens of customers with UBS and other Swiss banks, doesn't believe either that the move "signifies any reduction of interest of the US government in off-shore compliance."

"This reduction in staff is not a political move, it's a budgetary move due to the hiring freeze in the federal government," he said.

On the political and diplomatic front, with bilateral negotiations underway to reach a global accord on resolving fiscal and banking differences, the situation is harder to read.

"It's been completely silent in the last six weeks or so, while in the past there were statements and leaks in the press," commented Michel.

To read more about the US fight against tax evasion click here.


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