Swiss banks helped wealthy Americans hide $10bn from tax authorities

swiss-banks-help-wealthy-americans-hide-money-from-tax-men.siUS regulators are after Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank for helping Americans conceal as much as $10bn from US tax authorities. The bank’s CEO maintains only a few officials are responsible and gives testimony on Wednesday.

Rampant tax evasion in America, often with the help of Swiss banks, has led US regulators to go after 14 banks, with Zurich-based Credit Suisse as a main target. US authorities want to reclaim billions in lost tax revenue from dodgers, whose identity is still being kept secret by the Swiss.

Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan will tell a Senate committee that only a few Swiss-based bankers are to blame, and not the bank as a whole.

“We deeply regret that – despite the industry-leading compliance measures we have put in place – before 2009, some Credit Suisse private bankers appear to have violated U.S. law,” Dougan said in prepared remarks, released prior to his testimony Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Credit Suisse is accused of helping tax evaders not only stash money, but also break the law by falsifying visa applications. The bank even set up a stand at Zurich airport where clients could fly in, leave their money, and fly out.

“The evidence showed that some Swiss-based private bankers went to great lengths to disguise their bad conduct from Credit Suisse executive management,” Dougan will say.

Some of the transactions were straight out of a pulp financial thriller, with money tucked into magazines and then passed off to clients.

“They owe Uncle Sam, they owe the people of the United States,” Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and panel chair said Tuesday, adding the Department of Justice must act in order to uncover the identities of all the people involved in the evasion.

A 176-page Senate report found that as of 2006, Credit Suisse had over 22,000 US clients whose assets at one point were more than 12 billion Swiss francs (CHF).

“Simple justice requires that tax cheats must come clean, pony up, and face the consequences,” Levin said.

The report says that Credit Suisse will hand over the names of 238 US account holders to prosecutors. On Wednesday, hearings continue, and Levin will question Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan and other senior bank officials. Credit Suisse maintains top bankers were unaware employees were helping US citizens avoid paying taxes.

“While that employee misconduct violated our policies, and was unknown to our executive management, we accept responsibility for and deeply regret these employees’ actions,” the bank said.

Credit Suisse last week paid $197 million to US regulators over tax probes.

In 2009, UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, admitted helping 52,000 American clients avoid paying taxes. This led the Senate committee to begin an informal bipartisan review on Credit Suisse.

Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the bank over suspicious accounting practices in which it suspects the bank shuffled money to hide growth during a US probe over tax evasion in Swiss banks. Suisse Bank allegedly transferred funds from its private banking department in 2011-12 with the intent to cover asset growth.US regulators are after Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-largest bank for helping Americans conceal as much as $10bn from US tax authorities. The bank’s CEO maintains only a few officials are responsible and gives testimony on Wednesday.

Rampant tax evasion in America, often with the help of Swiss banks, has led US regulators to go after 14 banks, with Zurich-based Credit Suisse as a main target. US authorities want to reclaim billions in lost tax revenue from dodgers, whose identity is still being kept secret by the Swiss.

Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan will tell a Senate committee that only a few Swiss-based bankers are to blame, and not the bank as a whole.

“We deeply regret that – despite the industry-leading compliance measures we have put in place – before 2009, some Credit Suisse private bankers appear to have violated U.S. law,” Dougan said in prepared remarks, released prior to his testimony Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Credit Suisse is accused of helping tax evaders not only stash money, but also break the law by falsifying visa applications. The bank even set up a stand at Zurich airport where clients could fly in, leave their money, and fly out.

“The evidence showed that some Swiss-based private bankers went to great lengths to disguise their bad conduct from Credit Suisse executive management,” Dougan will say.

Some of the transactions were straight out of a pulp financial thriller, with money tucked into magazines and then passed off to clients.

“They owe Uncle Sam, they owe the people of the United States,” Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and panel chair said Tuesday, adding the Department of Justice must act in order to uncover the identities of all the people involved in the evasion.

A 176-page Senate report found that as of 2006, Credit Suisse had over 22,000 US clients whose assets at one point were more than 12 billion Swiss francs (CHF).

“Simple justice requires that tax cheats must come clean, pony up, and face the consequences,” Levin said.

The report says that Credit Suisse will hand over the names of 238 US account holders to prosecutors. On Wednesday, hearings continue, and Levin will question Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan and other senior bank officials. Credit Suisse maintains top bankers were unaware employees were helping US citizens avoid paying taxes.

“While that employee misconduct violated our policies, and was unknown to our executive management, we accept responsibility for and deeply regret these employees’ actions,” the bank said.

Credit Suisse last week paid $197 million to US regulators over tax probes.

In 2009, UBS, Switzerland’s biggest bank, admitted helping 52,000 American clients avoid paying taxes. This led the Senate committee to begin an informal bipartisan review on Credit Suisse.

Separately, the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating the bank over suspicious accounting practices in which it suspects the bank shuffled money to hide growth during a US probe over tax evasion in Swiss banks. Suisse Bank allegedly transferred funds from its private banking department in 2011-12 with the intent to cover asset growth.

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