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Several Swiss cantonal banks to join US offshore tax evasion deal

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.

BCV's subsidiary Piquet Galland & Cie SA and St. Galler KB's subsidiaries Hyposwiss Privatbank Zurich AG and Hyposwiss Private Bank Geneve SA also decided to join the deal.

About a dozen banks have now come forward to say they are participating in the scheme brokered by the Swiss and U.S. governments this summer to allow banks to make amends for aiding tax evasion by paying fines and disclosing information.

All the cantonal banks that said on Monday that they would join the scheme said they had never focused on acquiring U.S. clients but said they could not completely rule out some customers had not met their U.S. tax obligations.

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