DOZENS of American cartoon characters face financial ruin following the Swiss parliament’s approval of a data sharing deal with the United States.
The deal clears the way for Switzerland’s famously secretive UBS bank to transfer data on thousands of its clients to US Federal authorities.
Under the 2009 agreement, UBS will identify 4,450 American clients suspected of dodging taxes, many of them believed to be animated television superstars.
But the deal needed parliamentary approval after Switzerland's supreme court vetoed it in January for breaching Swiss banking secrecy rules. It has since been held up by weeks of procedural wrangling.
Tea time heroes including Yogi Bear, Dick Dastardly and possibly Scooby Doo are all believed to number amongst UBS clients although the Feds’ primary target is understood to be cheeky feline Top Cat.
US authorities say they are ‘doing a Capone’ on Top Cat after decades of trying to evict him and his gang from an unassuming New York alleyway.
Heading the hunt, Tax Investigation Officer Charlie Dibble, said: “I knew I’d get Top Cat one day. That old cat has been cocking a snook at the American people for 48 years but I’ve finally caught him on the hop. Now he’s gonna to have to dig deep down into that purple waistcoat of his or else reach for the soap-on-a-rope.”
Some commentators have expressed concern at what they see as the 'McCarthyite persecution' of Top Cat and point to widespread speculation that Captain America also looks likely to be in the juice for tens of millions but is not being pursued with quite the same enthusiasm.
Others wonder whether TC, even though he’s quite old for a cat, will ever sit still long enough for Officer Dibble to clap him in irons.
The Swiss government, however, welcomed the move, saying "This allows Switzerland to uphold the commitments it has made and by which it remains bound under international law.”
UBS chairman Oswald von Oswald added: “UBS will continue to concentrate on the full range of its obligations stemming from this agreement and I am confident that we will have disclosed the details of all US cartoon characters who have been banking with us by August.”
The United States warned last week that it could still revive potentially damaging litigation against UBS if Switzerland reneged on the agreement.
Last night, none of the Hannah Barbera stable of cartoons were available for comment.