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Swiss Banks Risked Indictment Without Data Handover, TdG Reports

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Swiss President Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf said the U.S. could have indicted two or three other banks in addition to Wegelin & Co. if the companies hadn’t turned over information containing employee names, Tribune de Geneve reported.

The Federal Council authorized Swiss banks to deliver employee data to the U.S. to avoid “destroying workplaces,” Widmer-Schlumpf told the newspaper. She didn’t name any banks. Wegelin agreed to sell its non-U.S. business to Switzerland’s Raiffeisen Group on Jan. 27, one week before the bank was indicted in the U.S. for allegedly helping Americans evade taxes.

In the same interview, Widmer-Schlumpf said buying CDs with stolen bank data to force asset declarations is closer to “organized crime” than tax collection.

While it’s unacceptable for politicians to boast about buying illegal CDs, German states haven’t confirmed the purchases, Widmer-Schlumpf told the newspaper. North Rhine-Westphalia has regularly been the subject of reports it bought CDs with Swiss account information on German clients.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net

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

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