Former UBS banker Raoul Weil has agreed to be extradited to the United States on accusations of helping rich Americans evade taxes (Reuters)

The former UBS banker charged by US authorities with helping wealthy Americans dodge taxes via secret Swiss accounts has agreed to go to the United States to face trial after being arrested in Italy.

Raoul Weil, a 54-year-old Swiss citizen who used to be leading executive at Zurich-based wealth management giant UBS, has been held in an Italian jail for five weeks after he was arrested him in a hotel in Bologna where he was holidaying with his wife.

US proecutors alleged that Weil helped 17,000 American clients, with $20bn (£12.4bn, €14.8bn) in assets, to evade taxes between 2002 and 2007.

Weil had been ordered to remain in Bologna's Dozza prison after a judge rejected his application to be put under house arrest rather than face extradition.

After Weil was indicted in the US, he continued working in Switzerland. He was most recently promoted to chief executive of Reuss Private Group earlier this year, after joining the firm in 2010 as a consultant.

Reuss Private Group has 4bn Swiss francs in assets under management. It describes itself as a "leading alliance of specialist providers offering a comprehensive range of products and services for professional asset managers, family offices and sophisticated private investors".

UBS admitted to aiding tax evasion and paid a $780m penalty in 2009 after which the bank handed over data on 250 accounts held by US citizens and later disclosed information on another 4,450.