Senator Carl Levin was cracking the whip on UBS last week, saying those cheese-eating fiends are assisting Americans in evading taxes and committing fraud with their secret foreign bank accounts.

Levin accused the Swiss bank of adopting several shady banking practices such as code names for clients, using pay phones instead of business phones, foreign shell companies, fake charitable trusts, anonymous wire transfers, disguised business trips, and shredding files.

A report from Friday’s Times Online explains that UBS are finally “starting to clean up their act”:

An investigation, whose report was issued yesterday, found that only 1,000 of UBS’s 20,000 American clients with Swiss bank accounts had declared their accounts to the IRS.

UBS will not hand over identities of all 19,000 of these customers because, sources say, it does not follow that every undeclared account has broken US tax law. Instead it will identify only those it believes may have engaged in tax fraud, although that number is expected to run into thousands.

But don’t get too worried, all you Da Vinci Code hiders out there. No news yet on the countless Cayman Islands tax refuges that still exist for those wealthy and tan enough to afford them.

Consumerist: UBS Closes Fancy Swiss Bank Accounts For American Tax Evaders, July 21, 2008

(photo of the Swiss Federal Bank Vault in Zurich via Swiss-Banking-Antiques.com)