Credit Suisse is still helping ultra-wealthy Americans evade taxes, Senate panel says
By Matt Egan, CNN
Credit Suisse is complicit in ongoing tax evasion by ultra-wealthy Americans, including a potentially criminal conspiracy involving the failure to disclose nearly $100 million in secret offshore accounts held by a single family, a Senate investigation released Wednesday finds.
The two-year investigation by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden alleges major violations of the 2014 plea agreement Credit Suisse reached with the US Justice Department after it enabled thousands of wealthy Americans to avoid taxes.
“At the center of this investigation are greedy Swiss bankers and catnapping government regulators,” Wyden said in a statement, “and the result appears to be a massive, ongoing conspiracy to help ultra-wealthy US citizens to evade taxes and rip off their fellow Americans.”
The Senate panel said Credit Suisse, under pressure from investigators, has identified 23 additional large and undeclared accounts belonging to ultra-wealthy Americans, each with assets above $20 million. More reviews are underway, the Senate committee said.
The panel also said it uncovered a previously unknown and ongoing effort by Credit Suisse to hide nearly $100 million in secret offshore accounts belonging to a single family of American taxpayers.
All told, the committee estimates more than $700 million in concealed accounts held at Credit Suisse in violation of that 2014 plea deal.
The Senate investigation also found that former senior bankers at Credit Suisse were involved in the management of these large and undeclared offshore accounts.
In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, a Credit Suisse spokesperson said the bank does not tolerate tax evasion.
“In its core, the report describes legacy issues, some from a decade ago, and we have implemented extensive enhancements since then to root out individuals who seek to conceal assets from tax authorities,” the bank spokesperson said in the statement.
Credit Suisse said its new leadership has cooperated with the Senate inquiry.
“Our clear policy is to close undeclared accounts when identified, and to discipline any employee who fails to comply with bank policy or falls short of Credit Suisse’s standards of conduct. Credit Suisse is also actively cooperating with US authorities including the DOJ to address some remaining legacy conduct or policy concerns, and will continue to do so,” the spokesperson said in the statement.
In 2014, Credit Suisse pled guilty to federal charges that it illegally allowed some US clients evade their taxes for decades. The bank agreed to pay a total of $2.6 billion to the federal government and New York regulators.
The latest allegations come just days after Credit Suisse reached an emergency deal to be acquired by rival UBS.
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