August 19th, 2009
01:14 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: IRS cracks secret Swiss vaults

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/08/18/new.york.model.blog.lawsuit/art.google.cnn.jpg caption="Since going public on August 19, 2004, shares have never dropped below the IPO price."]
Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

Attention all you international playboys, Ponzi schemers and Bond villains out there, the IRS has reached a deal with the Swiss government that gives it access to thousands secret bank accounts that Americans might have used to avoid paying taxes.

IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman says the agency has gained access to about 5,000 accounts held by rich American investors at Swiss banking giant UBS. In a teleconference with reporters earlier today, Shulman said the accounts have held $18 billion in assets at one time, though he did not have a current tally for their value.

The announcement is the result of a settlement that the IRS and UBS reached earlier this month to track down and identify wealthy Americans who have avoided paying taxes by hiding their assets in offshore accounts. Shulman said the deal should deter Americans from evading taxes in the future.

If your name is on the list of 5,000 accounts, it’s time to pack up your white Persian cat and head for the escape pod…

Oil prices spike

Crude oil prices are spiking about 4% today to back above $72 per barrel after the Department of Energy reported a massive drop in U.S. oil inventories.

Oil inventories plunged by 8.4 million barrels last week, hitting their lowest levels since last September when hurricanes forced many refineries along the Gulf Coast to shut down.

Additionally, gasoline stockpiles dropped by 2.2 million barrels and distillate inventories, including heating oil and diesel, fell by 700,000 barrels.

Happy Anniversary Google

What began as a search engine is now a verb: Google.

Google went public five years ago today. The stock was priced at $85 a share, but by the time shares opened for trading, they’d already hit $100.

Google hit an all-time high of $732.94 on Nov. 7, 2007, and now trades around $440 a share. Since going public on August 19, 2004, shares have never dropped below the IPO price.

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: 360° Radar • Andrew Torgan • Finance
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    Another item the IRS needs to crack down on is the incorporation of US businesses in Caribbean countries so they don't have to pay the US corporate tax. These countries also tend to be the ones that offshore their work as well – so they don't support the US in the form of taxes as well. We are painting ourselves into a corner – once the jobs are all off shored and the rich keep their money in swiss accounts, the rest of us have to do without.

    August 19, 2009 at 8:41 pm |
  2. Gil Williams

    Of course someone will argue this; that their personal records, liberties, etc. are being violated. Go figure!

    I can't wait to read how all the Obama haters out there will acuse him of doing exactly that.

    August 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  3. Tired in Dallas

    Good news! Now, how about they go after the tax dodgers in the USA. There are tens of thousands that haven't paid their taxes in years and I know a few. I've even reported one big one and even gave the IRS his current address since he's moved and is avoiding them. It makes me sick that I pay my taxes and people that make thousands more than I do don't and so far have gotten away with it. It's time the IRS to get off their a$$ and do their jobs!

    August 19, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  4. Teresa, OH

    I dont understand why the IRS is cracking down on the Swiss accounts at this time. This has been going on for decades hasnt it?
    Is all the urgency due to the recession? What gives?

    August 19, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  5. Jo Anne Wilkinson

    It is about time the IRS got smart and companies will pay their fare share of taxes, penalties, interest. IRS needs to go to the Camen Islands etc and any other countries who allow the USA's companies to hide money and NOT pay taxes.

    August 19, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  6. Jim

    Its about time the FAT CATS Paid thier fair share, of course they will move thier money elsewere if they have not allready or just withdraw all thier money from the banks period.- You know its bad when the Criminals can't trust the Banks because The Banks are even more crooked than the Run of the mill Criminals..

    August 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm |