Geneva Bank Sees U.S. Disclosure Plan Weighing on Profits

Banque Cantonale de Geneve, the Swiss regional bank established in 1816, said costs from considering to respond to a U.S. disclosure initiative on undeclared accounts will “slightly” influence profitability.

The bank, partly owned by the canton of Geneva and publicly traded on the Zurich stock exchange, is evaluating whether and how to participate in the voluntary program announced by the U.S. Department of Justice on Aug. 29 and accepted by the Swiss government. The process incurs administrative and advisory costs, the bank said in an e-mailed statement today.

Swiss banks that seek to avoid prosecution for fostering tax evasion through secret accounts held by U.S. clients face penalties of as much as 50 percent of the value of those assets under the Justice Department program. The U.S. expects those banks to disclose cross-border activities, give detailed account information on American clients, describe other banks that have secret accounts and cooperate with information requests.

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