Updated from 5:26 a.m. EDT
Swiss banking giant
and the U.S. and Swiss governments agreed to a 15-day suspension of litigation related to the Internal Revenue Service's effort to identify thousands of suspected American tax evaders.
In a statement late Sunday, UBS said: "This agreement has resulted in a joint motion by the U.S. government and UBS, with the support of the Swiss government, for a stay of the litigation in Miami for a duration of 15 days in order to achieve a settlement. The parties and the Swiss government will present this motion for the court's approval on Monday morning."
reported Sunday that the parties were seeking a settlement and asked a federal judge to delay high-stakes hearings on the Internal Revenue Service's efforts.
A one-page motion, filed in Miami less than 24 hours before the hearings were to begin Monday, said postponement is needed "to allow the two governments to continue their discussions seeking a resolution of this matter."
Unless a deal is reached beforehand, the filing asks that the hearing be rescheduled for Aug. 3.
U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold didn't immediately rule on the request, but judges routinely allow parties in civil cases extra time to settle out of court. Such a deal would likely include a large penalty against UBS and possibly require the bank to reveal at least some names, tax experts say.
In a statement, the U.S. Justice Department said any agreement would have to require that UBS provide "information on a significant number of individuals with UBS accounts."
"If an alternative resolution is not reached, the Department of Justice will continue to vigorously pursue enforcement of the summons through the court," the statement said.
The case seeking the identities of some 52,000 wealthy American clients suspected of hiding $15 billion at UBS has already sent shock waves through the international banking system.
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