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US, Swiss reach deal on bank accounts

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government and Switzerland have reached an agreement that could expose Americans who have used Swiss banks to avoid paying taxes.

The agreement will allow Swiss banks to settle any potential U.S. charges if they disclose extensive information about their American clients, the value of their accounts and any help they received from tax professionals.

Those settlements would include penalties for Swiss banks that helped their U.S. customers avoid taxes, according to a senior Justice Department official. The total penalties resulting from the deal could top $1 billion, the official said. The official wouldn't discuss the agreement on the record because it won't be formally announced for a few days. The deal would not cover the 14 Swiss banks currently under investigation by the department, the official said.


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