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IRS whistleblower payouts down, critics say program too slow

By Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Internal Revenue Service reported it made progress last year in rewarding tax whistleblowers with a few big cash payouts, but critics said the tax agency is still struggling to act quickly on informants' tips. For the fiscal year ended September 30, the IRS said late last week that it paid whistleblowers $53.1 million, down from $125.4 million in 2012; $8 million in 2011; and $18.7 million in 2010.

London calling: Redford's final travel bill of $131K includes English retreat

EDMONTON - The bill for Alison Redford's final trip as premier of Alberta has come in at $131,000 — and includes taxpayer-funded flights to London for a private weekend getaway. Overall costs for the two-week January trip were released Wednesday by the International and Intergovernmental Relations Department. Itemized receipts are to be posted online next month. The trade mission and networking trip to India and Switzerland included a stopover for private time in London that was not on the original itinerary.

California lawyer sentenced to prison time in tax dodge case: U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - California lawyer Christopher Rusch has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for helping Americans hide millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts to avoid U.S. taxes. The U.S. Department of Justice said late on Tuesday that Rusch had testified against two American clients, saying he brought money into the United States from their undeclared bank accounts to help them buy a golf course in Colorado.

Bayern boss Hoeness 'hid evidence for a year'

Bayern Munich boss Uli Hoeness faced damaging testimony in a tax trial Tuesday when an official charged the German football legend had withheld incriminating evidence for over a year. New twists and additional witnesses will likely extend the high-profile trial -- in which Hoeness faces a possible jail term -- beyond this week, said a court spokeswoman. Hoeness, 62, in a shock confession told the opening of the trial on Monday that he used Swiss bank accounts to cheat on 18.5 million euros ($25.5 million) in taxes, almost five times the amount prosecutors had assumed.

Julius Baer curbed CEO pay after shareholder disapproval in 2012

ZURICH (Reuters) - Julius Baer <BAER.VX> paid Chief Executive Boris Collardi 11 percent less last year than in 2012, including a voluntary cut after shareholders rejected his pay package last year. The Swiss private bank said it paid Collardi 5.89 million Swiss francs ($6.69 million) last year in base salary, cash bonus, shares, pension fund, stock-based incentives and other benefits. That is down from the 6.68 million francs that shareholders rejected in a non-binding vote in 2012.

Swiss economic growth slows, disappoints

Swiss economic growth slowed to a crawl at the end of 2013, official data showed Thursday, amid concern that the strong Swiss franc and recent vote limiting immigration from the EU might further hamper the country's economy. Switzerland's economy grew just 0.2 percent during the final three months last year, compared to the previous quarter, according to the statistics from Switzerland's State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, or SECO.

Swiss markets hold up despite vote clouding EU links

Swiss financial markets took a shock Swiss vote restricting immigration with the European Union in their stride on Monday when shares edged up slightly and the Swiss franc was steady. The Swiss franc, which the central bank held down at the height of the eurozone debt crisis, firmed slightly to 1.2226 to the euro from 1.2239 late on Friday before the weekend vote. The yield, or interest indicated, on traded 10-year Swiss debt bonds firmed slightly to 1.026 percent from 1.012 percent on Friday.

Credit Suisse doubles net profit in 2013 but disappoints

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse more than doubled its net profit last year, but still missed expectations amid big legal charges, a results statement showed on Thursday. In 2013, the bank saw its net profit balloon to 3.06 billion Swiss francs ($3.38 billion 2.50 billion euros), up from 1.34 billion a year earlier. Analysts polled by the AWP financial news service had expected to see the company pull in a net profit of 3.2 billion during the year.

UBS bank reports huge switch back into profit

Swiss bank UBS, in the midst of a refocusing of its activities, reported a huge switch back into profit last year and accelerating performance in the last quarter, in a statement on Tuesday. The bank took huge losses from the financial crisis and, in common with Swiss banks in general, is having to adjust to a new Swiss banking climate on many fronts and notably owing to an opening up of Swiss banking secrecy. Last year it made a net profit of 3.2 billion Swiss francs (2.5 billion euros, ($3.38 billion) from a loss of 2.4 billion francs in 2012.

Julius Baer misses profit view as U.S. tax probe weighs

By Katharina Bart ZURICH (Reuters) - Julius Baer <BAER.VX> suffered a double blow on Monday as yearly earnings fell short of expectations and clients transferring from recently acquired Merrill funds were set to reach only the low end of its target range. Shares in the Zurich-based private bank, which had hit an all-time peak late last month, were down some 5 percent after the results and traded at 41.85 Swiss francs by 1210 GMT.
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