Swiss banks cleared to take part in US tax deal



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GENEVA (AP) - The Swiss government says it has cleared the first batch of banks to cooperate with U.S. authorities under a deal to stem tax evasion.

The Cabinet gave its approval at a meeting Friday but said in a statement that it won't give information on the number of banks involved or name them.

The agreement allows Swiss banks to settle any potential U.S. charges if they disclose information related to American assets. Some would also have to pay a penalty. Banks wanting to participate have to seek individual permission to do so from the government.

Switzerland has been trying to shed its image as a haven for tax evasion and money laundering carried out through misuse of its famous banking secrecy.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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