US near deal with some Swiss banks in offshore tax probe

The U.S. government expects to announce within days a program that would allow some Swiss banks to avoid or defer prosecution over a long-running probe of offshore tax dodging by Americans, a senior Justice Department official said on Wednesday.

The program would exclude 14 Swiss banks that are already under investigation, the Justice official told reporters on a conference call, which followed reports out of Switzerland that the government there was ready to end the long-running dispute.

"We expect in the next several days to announce a program that would allow certain Swiss banks that want to obtain a resolution with the Department of Justice to come forward and do that," said the senior official, who requested anonymity because the deal has yet to be finalized.