Someone call the State Department and cut off all ties with the Toblerone cobblers until this get rectified.
Reconvilier — population 2,245 humans, 280 dogs — plans to put fido on notice if its owner doesn’t pay the annual $50 tax. Local official Pierre-Alain Nemitz says the move is part of an effort to reclaim hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes.
Why, you ask? Apparently because the town had exhausted all other possible methods of collection back before World War I and there’s no point in trying anything else.
He says a law from 1904 allows the village to kill dogs if its owner does not pay the canine charge. Nemitz told the AP on Monday that authorities have received death threats since news of the plan got out. “This isn’t about a mass execution of dogs,” Nemitz said. “It’s meant to put pressure on people who don’t cooperate.”
The World Economic Forum kicks off tomorrow and as expected, the Big 4 bigwigs will be there in full force.
Having been through their share of busy seasons, the fearless four of Jim squared, Dennis, and Tim are no doubt glad to be on this getaway.
Their hearts and minds never stray too far from all of you serving the capital markets back at home but it is a great opportunity for them to explore the land of secretive banking, blondes and Toblerones. Plus, there are some meetings and whatnot where they spread their wisdom amongst the other grand poobahs of the world.
Despite the presence of the Fab Four, Big Four Blog points out that the firms’ websites don’t hardly make a mention of their participation at the rager in Davos:
[We] could find hardly a mention of this on the firm’s websites, contrary to prior years when a press release would proudly proclaim their participation. Are the Big Four firms keeping a low profile this year? We wonder why?
Just when we think the Madoff beat has quieted down, we’re reminded that the tentacles of the Ponzi scheme of our lifetime reach far and wide and for that we are thankful.
Not because we enjoy the carnage that has come about from this particular scheme. No, that would be in bad taste. We’re mostly thankful because we’re certain that today, 90% of you will spend the entire day gabbing about turkey-lurkey-do instead of sending us details on your firm’s cost saving initiative du jour, thus making it a slow news day.
So, thank you Berns, for providing us a story on this most non-productive day of the year:
Private and institutional investors who lost money through Access International Advisors LLC’s LuxAlpha Sicav-American Selection are suing UBS and Ernst & Young for “seriously neglecting” their supervisory duties of the fund. A Luxembourg court will decide in hearings that started today whether investors have the right to bring direct claims against the fund’s custodian and auditor.
“These cases are very important,” Pierre Reuter, who represents clients in six of the lawsuits being reviewed over four days of hearings, said by telephone before the hearing. “They could set the course for some 100 pending cases and many more to come.”
Since these are simply “test cases” the plaintiffs will be anxious to see the results, especially since the Swiss are involved. A pallet of Toblerones will certainly find their way to the offering table at some point. Whether UBS allows E&Y to squeeze in on this valuable bargaining chip remains to be seen.
UBS, Ernst & Young Face Test Cases Over Madoff Funds [Bloomberg]
In what probably amounts to UBS caving out of pure exhaustion from the nagging of U.S. Tax authorities, the Swiss Bank reached an agreement in which it will turn over names of wealthy clients. The Wall St. Journal is reporting that it could be between 8,000 and 10,000 names which will likely get UBS on the list at Hop Sing’s with Ned Isakoff.
More, after the jump
The whole sitch has caused many to confess their offshore banking sins and may make for more
begrudgingly honest reporting of offshore accounts in the future but we hope that in hindsight, future Swiss negotiators see the wisdom of considering the undying power of the cocoa bean.
UBS Tax Lawsuit Settled by U.S., Swiss Governments [Bloomberg]
UPDATE: Read more at our sister site, Dealbreaker.
UBS is going to name names, albeit not all of them, bringing us to ever so close to the bitter end of the whole IRS/UBS standoff.
All the gory details are expected to be released on August 10th, when hopefully everyone will kiss and make up officially.
The focus of the settlement will be around 7,000 or so accounts that are associated with offshore companies and trusts that are possibly tied to some financial shenanigans. Under the potential settlement, UBS won’t turn over any names until after September 23rd, which is the last day for offshore account holders to confess their sinful ways.
Deal Reached in UBS Tax Battle [WSJ]
With only days until a showdown between the IRS and UBS, the Swiss Government has announced that it will stop the release of the 52,000 client names even if the U.S. Court orders the names to be released.
Now before you say, “Oh, Swiss Government, you’re so cute with your braided blonde hair and neutrality,” they sound pretty serious:
“Switzerland makes it perfectly clear that Swiss law prohibits UBS from complying with a possible order by the court in Miami to hand over the client information,” the Swiss Justice Ministry said. “On the basis of the Federal Council’s landmark decision, UBS will by no means be in a position to comply with such an order.” The Finance Ministry added that “all the necessary measures should be taken to prevent UBS from handing over the information on the 52,000 account holders demanded in the U.S. civil proceeding.”
We really feel that a few Toblerones would really go a long way to convincing the IRS that the names aren’t really that important. Just say the word IRS and we’re sure that they can make it happen.
Switzerland: Will Block UBS From Giving U.S. Client Data [WSJ]