Credit Suisse helped Americans evade tax
In May 2014 the Guardian online reported that Credit Suisse had pleaded guilty to criminal charges that it helped Americans evade taxes. It was expected to pay a fine of $2.5bn (£1.5bn).
The attorney general, Eric Holder, said the years-long investigation had uncovered evidence of an “extensive and wide-ranging” conspiracy to hide taxes from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the bank’s involvement in it.
“The bank went to elaborate lengths to shield itself, its employees, and the tax cheats it served from accountability for their criminal actions. They subverted disclosure requirements, destroyed bank records, and concealed transactions involving undeclared accounts by limiting withdrawal amounts and using offshore credit and debit cards to repatriate funds. They failed to take even the most basic steps to ensure compliance with tax laws,” said Holder.
Holder said the bank helped account holders deceive the IRS by concealing assets and income in illegal, undeclared bank accounts.
He said hundreds of Credit Suisse employees, including at the manager level, “conspired to help tax cheats dodge US taxes”.
Brady Dougan, Credit Suisse’s chief executive officer, said: “We deeply regret the past misconduct that led to this settlement."
The bank will pay $1.13bn in the form of a fine and nearly $670m in restitution to the IRS, totalling $1.8bn. It will also pay the New York State department of financial services a record $715m and another $100m to the Federal Reserve.
The deal comes after a Senate panel in February 2014 concluded Credit Suisse recruited for over 22,000 US customers with assets of $10bn-$12bn, the vast majority of which were hidden from US authorities.
Pressure has been mounting on the Swiss banks in recent months. In March, Andreas Bachmann, one of six former Credit Suisse bankers indicted on charges of helping US clients hide $4bn in assets, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
In April, Josef Dorig, founder of a Swiss fund, pleaded guilty in the same case and implicated several other Credit Suisse bankers.
It is the first bank in more than a decade to admit to criminal wrongdoing in the USA.
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