Credit Suisse Found to Have Breached U.S. Tax Evasion Agreement, Senate Committee Reports
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has found that Credit Suisse violated a 2014 plea deal with U.S. authorities. The Swiss lender had been helping ultra-wealthy Americans evade taxes and had concealed over $700 million from the U.S. government, which constitutes “major violations” of the agreement. The committee also discovered that Credit Suisse did not disclose almost $100 million in secret offshore accounts belonging to a single family of dual U.S.-Latin American citizens. The bank’s actions represented an “ongoing and potentially criminal conspiracy,” according to the committee.
The committee has called on Credit Suisse’s new owner, UBS, or the Swiss government to assume responsibility for any future fines. The committee has also urged the U.S. Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether Credit Suisse should face additional penalties. Credit Suisse stated that it did not tolerate tax evasion and had been cooperating with U.S. authorities.
Credit Suisse became the largest bank in 20 years to plead guilty to a U.S. criminal charge in 2014. The bank paid a $2.5 billion fine for its role in helping Americans evade taxes over decades. Credit Suisse has had several scandals in the past that have rocked Switzerland’s second-biggest lender, including pleading guilty last year to defrauding investors over an $850 million loan to Mozambique.
According to the committee, Credit Suisse bankers helped “The Family,” the name given to a U.S.-Latin American family, to hide almost $100 million from the U.S. tax authorities. Credit Suisse bankers masked the fact that the family members held American citizenship, and when they closed the accounts in 2013, they transferred the funds to other banks in Switzerland and elsewhere without notifying the Department of Justice, which violated the 2014 plea deal. The committee believes that Credit Suisse’s conduct of ultra-high net worth tax evaders and other banks in Switzerland only scratches the surface of the issue.
The Swiss authorities rescued Credit Suisse earlier this month to prevent the lender from collapsing. UBS rehired Sergio Ermotti as its chief executive to oversee the takeover.