I was asked my opinion on the news that UBS has decided to give up account information of 4,450 suspected tax cheats as part of a lawsuit dealing with U.S. tax evasion. I don't have a whole lot to say about this, just a few thoughts.
First, it's good. As I said just yesterday, it's your patriotic duty to pay your taxes. That does not mean it's patriotic to like taxes, just to do the right thing by paying them. These individuals will get what they deserve.
Second, UBS likely had no choice. I'm not sure what dire consequences UBS would have faced if it hadn't given up these names, but they must have been quite nasty to compel it to comply. Disclosing these names certainly won't make its current clients or potential clients any more likely to do business with the firm in the future.
Third, what I just said is really bad news for an already troubled UBS. Privacy is very important to banking clients, especially high net-worth banking clients. Seeing that UBS folded under U.S. government pressure won't win it many points with its target audience.
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