2

The following excerpts are taken from Offshore Crackdown Kicks Off With 30% Penalties for Banks: Taxes:

The Internal Revenue Service is about to get an unprecedented look at bank accounts and investments U.S. citizens hold abroad, through a law that is making it harder to hide assets from the tax collector.

[. . .]

What led to the 2010 Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, was the inability of federal tax authorities to obtain clear information about financial accounts that U.S. citizens have outside the country. That’s especially important for the U.S., because unlike many other countries, it taxes citizens on their worldwide income regardless of where they actually live.

[. . .]

Even without Fatca in place, the U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG to glean information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

Prosecutors have charged more than 70 U.S. taxpayers and three dozen bankers, lawyers and advisers in their crackdown on offshore tax evasion. Those charged include H. Ty Warner, the billionaire creator of Beanie Babies plush toys; Igor Olenicoff, a billionaire real estate developer; and Brad Birkenfeld, a former UBS AG banker who blew the whistle on the bank.

  1. . . .the U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG to concealing information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

  2. . . .the U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG to for concealing information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

  3. . . .the U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG not to conceal information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

  4. . . .the U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG to provide information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

The above four examples show different ways I modified the original sentence. I am wondering if these modifications are valid and convey a meaning similar to the original sentence.

To put it another way, I changed the original sentence in such a way that Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG could act as the subject of conceal/provide information. Do these examples grammatically and semantically serve my purpose?

4

The U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG to glean information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

To be clear, this means that the U.S. has taken advantage of prosecutions against Credit Suisse & UBS for the purpose of gaining information on Americans hiding overseas accounts (that is, the identities of such Americans, the methods by which such is done, etc.).

The U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG concealing information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

Grammatical? Yes. Semantically? No. This sentence reads as the U.S. using prosecutions against the concealing of information conducted by Credit Suisse & UBS, which doesn't make particular sense - individuals are prosecuted, not actions.

The U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG for concealing information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

Grammatical? Yes. Semantically? No. This sentence implies that the purpose of the prosecutions is to conceal said information.

The U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG not to conceal information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

Grammatical? Maybe. Semantically? No. This reads as a fragment, something of the form They did that not for reason A, but for reason B. but without the "but" clause.

The U.S. has used prosecutions against Credit Suisse AG and UBS AG to provide information on Americans hiding overseas accounts.

Grammatical? Yes. Semantically? Yes. Although a bit similar in definition to the original, it's markedly different - the use of provide here implies that the U.S. is passing this info along to a third party, rather than simply for its own use.

  • Is it possible to interpret #2 as "The U.S. has prosecuted Credit Suisse & UBS for concealing information on Americans hiding overseas accounts."? Here "for" stands for "because of". – Kinzle B Jul 1 '14 at 15:47
  • And are you suggesting that Credit Suisse & UBS cannot act as the subject for its following VP in #2 or #4? – Kinzle B Jul 1 '14 at 15:59
  • To interpret #2 that way, it would have to be "The U.S. has prosecuted Credit Suisse & UBS for concealing...". I don't really know enough to answer technical questions, so you'd probably have to wait for @StoneyB to see this to answer your second question. – Pockets Jul 1 '14 at 16:14
  • @ZhanlongZheng Usually, simplification helps. For example, it's very difficult to think that after "I fought Zuckerman to get her", it was Zuckerman who got her. – Damkerng T. Jul 1 '14 at 16:33
  • That's why I introduced #4. My intended purpose was to make it impossible for the US to be the subject, but I failed to think of Lijin's senario of passing the info along to a third party. @DamkerngT. – Kinzle B Jul 1 '14 at 16:42
1

Short answer: No, I don't think the adjusted sentences maintain the same meaning.

The best way you might change the original sentence would be to use alternatives for "glean": gather, collect, learn, uncover, discover, reveal ...

Longer answer: The key concept is that the real purpose of the prosecutions was not to punish the foreign banks (they were following Swiss law anyway); it was to gather information about American account holders that they couldn't otherwise get. This distinction is not clear in your adjusted sentences.

1: By including the bank names and leaving out for, this construction (to me at least) sounds incomplete. You could say:

"The U.S. has used prosecutions against banks concealing information on Americans hiding overseas accounts."

... but this ignores the larger point of why they were prosecuting the banks.

2: With the inclusion of for this sentence sounds more grammatically correct than #1, but it significantly alters the meaning. This variation indicates that the aim was to punish the banks for their (perfectly legal) actions. That's not the case - the true goal was to gather information about U.S. account holders.

3: This one is a bit confusing, as if it's missing words or a comma. Sounds like:

"The U.S. has prosecuted banks [as a warning to them] not to conceal information."

4: This suggests that the U.S. was providing the information about hidden accounts, which is the opposite of what they were actually doing. This is not semantically equivalent to the original.

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