Monday, July 18, 2011

Switzerland’s Credit Suisse bank targeted for criminal investigation by DOJ

Switzerland’s second largest bank, Credit Suisse Group AG, announced last week that it is the target of a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice, pertaining to former cross-border banking services provided to US clients.

According to Justice Department guidelines, there must be “significant evidence” of illegal activity for the DOJ to target an entity for investigation. In February, four Credit Suisse employees were indicted for allegedly helping US clients evade taxes through secret bank accounts.

Following the agreement reached in 2008 with UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, some experts have speculated that this investigation could follow a similar trajectory. As a result of that action, UBS signed a differed prosecution deal which required the bank to pay $780 million and turn over data on 250 US clients – it has since provided data on an additional 4,450 accounts.

Credit Suisse is also under investigation in Germany for allegedly helping German clients evade taxes.