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Julius Baer Receives Request For US Client Data

Harriet Davies

29 May 2013

Switzerland’s Julius Baer Group has received a request for client data from the country’s tax authority, as part of an investigation by the US Internal Revenue Service, media reports said.

The IRS is seeking information on accounts of Americans which were “owned through a domiciliary company” and held at any time between the beginning of 2002 and the end of last year, according to Bloomberg, which obtained a letter written by the bank and dated May 16.

The request, which took place via Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration, is under a 1996 double-taxation agreement between the Alpine state and the US.

A report in Neue Zuercher Zeitung said more than 100 Julius Baer clients were affected.

The bank told Bloomberg it was working on the request from the Swiss authority, but declined to comment on the number of clients affected.

It could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

Julius Baer is among at least 14 firms the US Department of Justice is investigating for allegedly helping Americans hide money from the IRS, the report said. In March, a Swiss court ruled that Switzerland could hand over account data under the 1996 tax treaty.

In other news about the Swiss bank, Julius Baer announced yesterday that it has started to transfer the Hong Kong and Singapore businesses of Merrill Lynch International Wealth Management that it acquired in 2012, continuing a process that has made the Zurich-listed bank one of the world’s biggest stand-alone wealth management firms.