Major Swiss Bank Secretly Cultivated Thousands of U.S. Tax Evaders

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Switzerland’s second largest bank has been accused of helping, if not encouraging, thousands of wealthy Americans to hide their money in its foreign accounts.


As many as 22,000 U.S. citizens stashed a total of $12 billion in Credit Suisse so they could avoid paying taxes, a Senate subcommittee report says.


The bipartisan investigation was spearheaded by Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, who has fought for six years to expose wealthy tax cheats and their banking accomplices.


Levin insists that American tax dodgers have cost the U.S. Treasury as much as $100 million annually in lost revenue. And yet, all that probing has only produced the names of 238 tax cheats out of 22,000, Levin admitted.


The Senate report faulted the U.S. Department of Justice for not being more aggressive in going after banks suspected of helping the rich offshore their money.


“I’m sure similar types of James Bond environments exist in other banks,” Levin said, referring to the “cloak and dagger” methods employed by Credit Suisse to help its American customers. For example, clients were brought to meetings in a remote-controlled elevator without buttons. One client told the subcommittee that a Credit Suisse employee delivered the customer’s bank statements hidden in a copy of Sports Illustrated magazine. The bank also opened a branch at Zurich airport to make it easy for U.S. clients to open and use accounts.


An earlier congressional probe focused on Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, which exposed nearly 5,000 U.S. account holders.


The subcommittee also has targeted companies, like Apple Inc., for using Irish subsidiaries to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes on foreign earnings.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Offshore Tax Evasion: The Effort to Collect Unpaid Taxes on Billions in Hidden Offshore Accounts (permanent Subcommittee on Investigations) (pdf)

Senate Probe Accuses Swiss Bank of Helping Rich Americans Evade Taxes (by Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times)

Senators: Spy Tactics in Swiss Bank's Tax Scheme (by Gregory Korte, USA Today)

Levin: Time for IRS to Tackle Swiss Bank Tax Evasion. Again. (by Marcy Gordon, Associated Press)

U.S. Charges Swiss Bank with Tax Fraud for First Time (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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