Switzerland Postpones UBS Inquiry
Monday, March 8, 2010
Switzerland’s Council of States has elected to postpone the setting up of
a special commission to investigate the UBS case, sparking outrage from the country’s
lower chamber of parliament.
Due to resolve outstanding issues currently clouding the UBS case, the creation
of a parliamentary inquiry commission (une Commission d’enquête
parlementaire – CEP) is permitted under the terms of the Parliament Act,
which provides that in the case of events with far-reaching consequences, a
special group may be established in order to provide vital clarification.
Switzerland’s upper house of parliament has, however, voted to delay
its decision regarding the CEP until June 2. In defence of its highly controversial
decision, the upper house argued that a delay was necessary in order to await
findings from investigations that have been ongoing since March 2009. A final
report is due to be published on May 31.
Pressure to establish a CEP has continued to mount following the Federal Administrative
Court’s ruling that the order issued by the Financial Market Supervisory
Authority (FINMA) to disclose UBS client information to US authorities was unlawful.
The Court also criticized the Federal Council’s decision to sign an agreement
with the US without taking into consideration the existing double tax agreement
between the two countries, which clearly distinguishes between tax evasion and