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Factbox: Swiss banks and the U.S. tax crackdown

ZURICH (Reuters) - A host of Swiss banks have signaled their readiness to work with U.S. officials in a crackdown on wealthy Americans evading taxes. Many more are expected to follow in the coming weeks, as Switzerland's cherished bank secrecy slowly gets wound back. The program requires the banks to hand over some previously hidden information and face penalties equivalent to up to 50 percent of the assets they managed on behalf of wealthy Americans.

Private bank Union Bancaire Privee says joins U.S. tax deal

By Katharina Bart ZURICH (Reuters) - Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) on Friday became the latest Swiss bank to say it would work with U.S. officials in a crackdown on wealthy Americans evading taxes through hidden offshore accounts. With 81.1 billion Swiss francs ($90.4 billion) in assets, the Geneva-based bank is the biggest privately-held firm so far to say publicly it will take part in a government-brokered scheme to make amends for aiding tax evasion.

Monte Paschi investor denies talks with other foundations to swap, sell shares

MILAN (Reuters) - The biggest investor in Italy's Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS)<BMPS.MI> denied on Tuesday a press report that it was in talks with other banking foundations to swap or sell its shares in the troubled lender. Financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore wrote on Tuesday that the Monte dei Paschi foundation, which is trying to sell down its stake in the bank to pay back creditors, was in contact with other foundations to swap its stake in the bank with their holdings in other lenders.

Ex-Barclays boss Diamond targets Africa with new firm

Former Barclays bank boss Bob Diamond has raised $325 million (237 million euros) on the London market for a new company to tap into Africa's financial sector, it said Tuesday. US national Diamond, who resigned as Barclays chief executive last year over the Libor rate-rigging scandal, has created new firm Atlas Mara with Ashish Thakkar, head of pan-African conglomerate Mara Group. "Atlas Mara has been formed to undertake an acquisition of a target company or business," the group added in a statement.

Several Swiss cantonal banks to join U.S. tax deal

ZURICH (Reuters) - Several Swiss regional banks said on Monday they would cooperate with U.S. officials to avoid prosecution in a crackdown on Swiss lenders suspected of helping wealthy Americans evade taxes through offshore accounts. Banque Cantonale Vaudoise (BCV), Banque Cantonale de Geneve (BCGE), St. Galler Kantonalbank, Zuger Kantonalbank, Luzerner Kantonalbank and Graubuendner Kantonalbank said they were participating in the program.

Regulators shutter small bank in Texas; brings this year's US bank failures to 24

WASHINGTON - Regulators have closed a small bank in Texas, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures to 24 this year. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday it has taken over Texas Community Bank NA, based in The Woodlands, Texas. The lender, which operated two branches, had about $160.1 million in assets and $142.6 million in deposits as of Sept. 30. Spirit of Texas Bank SSB, based in College Station, Texas, agreed to assume all of Texas Community Bank's deposits and to buy $147.9 million of the failed bank's assets.

Intesa Sanpaolo rules out investment in Monte Paschi

MILAN (Reuters) - The head of Intesa Sanpaolo <ISP.MI> said on Wednesday Italy's biggest retail bank was not planning to invest in troubled peer Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena <BMPS.MI>, which is set to carry out a 3 billion-euro capital increase next year.

ADB sees lower growth for Southeast Asia in 2013

ADB sees lower growth for Southeast Asia in 2013 MANILA, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) revised down its growth forecast for Southeast Asia following the extensive damage caused by super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines last month. In a report released on Wednesday, the Manila-based lender projected growth in Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines to reach 4.8 percent, down from its forecast of 4.9 percent in October.

America's Cup in San Francisco not the economic engine originally projected

SAN FRANCISCO - The America's Cup sailing races this year generated far less economic activity in the San Francisco Bay Area than projected and have cost taxpayers more than $5 million, according to draft figures released Tuesday. Figures from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute show the races generated at least $364 million in economic impact. That figure rises to $550 million if the construction of a new cruise ship terminal is factored in.

HSBC plays down prospect of listing UK banking arm

By Steve Slater LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC <HSBA.L> played down a report on Monday that it was considering listing a third of its British retail and commercial banking arm in order to meet UK regulation and unlock value for shareholders. The Financial Times on Monday said HSBC was considering selling 30 percent of its UK arm. It said the plan was at an early stage but the matter had been discussed with investors and informally at board level, citing three people familiar with the project.
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