Swedish banking giant Credit Suisse is allegedly involved in tax evasion by ultra-wealthy Americans, the US Senate Finance Committee said Wednesday.
Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, released the findings of a two-year investigation into the Swiss-based global investment firm’s compliance with its 2014 plea agreement with the US Justice Department for enabling tax evasion by thousands of wealthy Americans.
“The committee’s investigation uncovered major violations of that plea agreement, including a previously unknown, ongoing and potentially criminal conspiracy involving the failure to disclose nearly $100 million in secret offshore accounts belonging to a single family of American taxpayers,” it said in a statement.
“The investigation also shed new light on the extent to which Credit Suisse bankers aided and abetted offshore tax evasion by U.S. businessman Dan Horsky, who pleaded guilty in 2016 to one of the largest criminal tax evasion cases in American history,” it added.
The committee said it requested information from Credit Suisse on other large and undeclared accounts belonging to ultra-wealthy Americans with more than $20 million at their bank.
Credit Suisse said it identified 23 accounts, with more reviews underway, by the time of the conclusion of the investigation.
The amount concealed in violation of Credit Suisse’s 2014 plea agreement is more than $700 million, according to the committee’s findings.
“At the center of this investigation are greedy Swiss bankers and catnapping government regulators, and the result appears to be a massive, ongoing conspiracy to help ultra-wealthy U.S. citizens to evade taxes and rip off their fellow Americans,” Wyden said in the statement. “Credit Suisse got a discount on the penalty it faced in 2014 for enabling tax evasion because bank executives swore up and down they’d get out of the business of defrauding the United States. This investigation shows Credit Suisse did not make good on that promise, and the bank’s pending acquisition does not wipe the slate clean.”
Credit Suisse pleaded guilty in May 2014 to conspiracy to aid and assist US taxpayers in filing false income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to help taxpayers hide offshore accounts from the tax agency and agreed to pay a $2.6 billion fine — the highest by then in a criminal tax case investigation.
After its biggest investor, Saudi National Bank said it could no longer financially assist Credit Suisse, and despite the bank taking a 50 billion Swiss francs ($54.4 billion) loan from the Swiss National Bank, depositors quickly pulled their money out – leading to the bank’s collapse.
Its rival, UBS, reached an agreement on March 19 to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs.
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