Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., speaks during a hearing at the U.S. Capitol on March 16. On Wednesday, he said Credit Suisse violated a 2014 plea agreement with the Justice Department. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
March 29 (UPI) -- Troubled Swiss lender Credit Suisse violated a 2014 plea agreement with the Justice Department by enabling wealthy U.S. residents to evade taxes with offshore accounts, Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden said Wednesday.
Wyden said a two-year investigation revealed Credit Suisse was guilty of major violations of the nine-year-old plea agreement that originally punished the bank.
The committee found "a previously unknown, ongoing, and potentially criminal conspiracy involving the failure to disclose nearly $100 million in secret offshore accounts belonging to a single family of American taxpayers."
The probe also examined the extent to which Credit Suisse bankers helped offshore tax evasion by U.S. businessman Dan Horsky, who pleaded guilty in 2016 to one of the largest criminal tax-evasion cases in history.
"At the center of this investigation are greedy Swiss bankers and catnapping government regulators, and the result appears to be a massive, ongoing conspiracy to help ultra-wealthy U.S. citizens to evade taxes and rip off their fellow Americans," Wyden, D-Ore., said.
Wyden said the bank revealed 23 undeclared accounts of wealth Americans with more than $20 million each in them, which also violated the 2014 plea agreement.
"Credit Suisse got a discount on the penalty it faced in 2014 for enabling tax evasion because bank executives swore up and down they'd get out of the business of defrauding the United States," Wyden said.
Wyden warned that UBS's recent announcement that it is purchasing Credit Suisse will not end the investigation and it will be held to the 2014 agreement.
"This investigation shows Credit Suisse did not make good on that promise, and the bank's pending acquisition does not wipe the slate clean. Officials at the Department of Justice have said they intend to crack down on corporate offenders, particularly repeat offenders like Credit Suisse, and I expect them to follow through on that commitment."
UBS, a Swiss rival of Credit Suisse, is spending $3.2 billion in a rescue after the shares of Credit Suisse dropped dramatically earlier this month.
In 2014, Credit Suisse agreed to pay $2.5 billion to the Justice Department and other regulators in a plea deal after it was found helping rich U.S. residents hide their wealth. The bank's CEO Brady Dougan and chair Urs Rohner, though, kept their jobs despite the deal.