Friday, February 25, 2011

US pursuit of tax fraud scheme providers continues in Switzerland

Arrest warrants were issued following the Wednesday indictment of four bankers believed to have been hiding as much as $3 billion from the IRS.

Although all four bankers are employed by the Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group, the bank itself was not charged in the indictment. However, the indictment states that bank officials "knew and should have known that they were aiding and abetting U.S. customers in evading their U.S. income taxes."

The US government alleges that the fraud goes back to as far as 1953, and that in 2008, Credit Suisse was maintaining thousands of hidden accounts for US customers. Additionally, the indictment claims that that the fours bankers encouraged clients not to participate in President Obama’s tax amnesty program last year.

The AP notes that this is the first major criminal prosecution not involving Swiss-based UBS AG. In that landmark case, the UBS turned over thousands of names and paid a $780 million fine for helping US citizens conceal assets from the IRS.