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Swiss Bank Wegelin Got Ultimatum From U.S., Tages-Anzeiger Says

Jan. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Wegelin & Co., the Swiss private bank that yesterday agreed to a sale, got a letter from the U.S. Justice Department about 10 days ago asking the bank to disclose data on American clients or face charges, Tages-Anzeiger reported, without saying where it got the information.

The bank’s partners considered various options together with the Swiss regulator Finma before deciding on the sale to Raiffeisen Group, the newspaper said. Finma declined to comment on the letter from the U.S. Justice Department, it said.

Wegelin agreed to a sale to Switzerland’s Raiffeisen after being investigated in the U.S. for allegedly helping Americans evade taxes. The private bank said this month that three bankers were charged with conspiring to help U.S. clients hide more than $1.2 billion from American tax authorities.

Joerg Denzler, a spokesman for Wegelin, declined to comment on the article when contacted by Bloomberg News.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elena Logutenkova in Zurich at elogutenkova@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Frank Connelly at fconnelly@bloomberg.net

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