A group of Swiss banks is lining up to deliver information to U.S. authorities investigating tax evasion by Americans, potentially moving a long legal battle closer to conclusion, The Wall Street Journal reported late on Thursday.
Last week, the Swiss Cabinet unveiled a program to let about a dozen banks being probed by the Justice Department hand over "leaver lists," or aggregate data on U.S. clients' accounts that had been transferred to other institutions as the United States began targeting overseas tax evasion, the Journal reported.
Some of the country's biggest banks, including Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer Group AG are eligible to apply or already have applied for Swiss government approval to participate in the program, according to people familiar with the situation, the newspaper said.
Credit Suisse and Julius Baer are among more than a dozen banks under formal U.S. investigation of Americans who are suspected of avoiding U.S. taxes by hiding assets overseas.
The Swiss government has agreed that Swiss banks could seek permission to help them to avoid U.S. criminal charges by handing over data, including on bank staff, although they would not be allowed to hand over client names directly.