Senate slams Credit Suisse for helping U.S. tax evaders

Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan said he "deeply regrets" his bankers' involvement in tax evasion activities but that there was only scattered evidence.
By Ananth Baliga  |  Feb. 26, 2014 at 4:03 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- A Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report has slammed Credit Suisse for aiding in offshore tax evasion and and aggressively seeking American businesses interested in committing such acts.

The report lists Credit Suisse's attempts to attract U.S. customers to open Swiss Bank accounts and evade federal taxes by luring them with a Swiss-themed ball in New York and golf tournaments in Florida. The 181-page report says that in 2006, Credit Suisse had 22,000 accounts from U.S. customers worth $13.5 billion at current exchange rates.

Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan said in a statement to the Senate that he "deeply regrets" that some of his bankers were involved but that there was only "scattered evidence" of wrongdoing.

"We deeply regret that -- despite the industry-leading compliance measures we have put in place -- before 2009, some Credit Suisse private bankers appear to have violated U.S. law," he said.

Dougan countered the report's suggestion that all the 22,000 accounts were held in Switzerland without the knowledge of the U.S. government. The Swiss bank and 13 others are under severe scrutiny from the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department for aiding offshore tax evasion.

U.S. authorities and Credit Suisse have been in talks to settle these allegations and could possibly strike a deal that would involve an $800 million fine. Credit Suisse has closed all U.S. accounts since 2008 and does not offer offshore accounts to Americans.

Senators did not spare the U.S. Justice Department, saying it did not do enough to track down Americans involved in tax evasion activities.

"The Department of Justice has been dragging its feet in going after them," Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said. "Negotiations have gone on for years, and still there are no commitments to provide names of U.S. account holders."


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