Switzerland's lower house yesterday approved the US-UBS deal to hand over to the US government over 4,450 names of wealthy Americans who held secret offshore accounts with Swiss bank UBS.
The Swiss lower house backed the deal by 81 to 61 votes, with 53 abstentions, but also backed a proposal to allow the deal to be put to a nationwide referendum, a move that was earlier rejected by the upper house.
The approval from the lower house came after it had rejected the bill last week, which was voted 104 to 76, with 16 abstentions. (See: Swiss parliament reject giving UBS client data to US)
Now both houses have to find a solution and try and avoid a referendum as the US has given Switzerland only up to August to hand over the data or UBS may face sanctions in the US.
Under Switzerland's legislative system, any newly-passed legislation could be put under a nationwide referendum if citizens are able to garner 50,000 signatures within 100 days after the legislation having been passed.
The US had warned Switzerland of breaching the agreement and the US Justice Department (DoJ) could proceed with the case against UBS at the Miami court, where it may then be forced to reveal 52,000 names and also suffer fines running ito millions of dollars for each day's delay in revealing the names.