Kenneth Rubinstein Interviewed by Reuters on IRS Offshore Crackdown and Credit Suisse
Reprinted from Reuters
Credit Suisse bankers indicted in U.S. tax case
by Kim Dixon
Thursday February 24, 2011 09:49:19 AM GMT
* Indictment: Bank maintained $3 bln in untaxed accounts
* German officials conduct raids on Credit Suisse offices
* U.S. officials looking beyond UBS for tax evasion (Adds byline, details from indictment, comment)
WASHINGTON, Feb 23 (Reuters) – A U.S. grand jury charged bankers at a Swiss bank, identified by a source as Credit Suisse, with aiding and abetting Americans in evading taxes, in a widening of the government’s probe into foreign banks.
The indictment, filed on Wednesday, charges four current and former bankers at a large Swiss international bank with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government.
The bank was not named in the court filings, but a source familiar with the case said it was Credit Suisse.
The indictment said the bank “maintained thousands of undeclared accounts containing approximately $3 billion in total assets under management.”
U.S. officials say they are probing other banks that may be helping Americans evade taxes abroad after UBS AG <UBS.N> <UBSN.VX> paid $780 million and agreed to hand over nearly 5,000 account names to the U.S. government to settle tax evasion charges.
“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to say if I was the government and I had to look at other banks, I’d be looking at Credit Suisse,” said Ken Rubinstein, an attorney in New York for wealthy American clients with offshore accounts.
UBS and Credit Suisse are the two biggest banks in Switzerland, a nation that prizes its banking secrecy.
A Credit Suisse spokesman declined to comment.
Marco Adami, Emanuel Agustoni, Michele Bergantino and Roger Schaerer are the bankers listed in the indictment.
The defendants are at large and being sought by U.S. authorities.
Earlier on Wednesday, German prosecutors conducted new raids on Credit Suisse offices, targeting four of the bank’s employees as part of an ongoing tax probe.
The indictment was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. (Criminal No. 1:11-CR-95)
The indictment says the bank’s managers and bankers used its New York office to provide services for customers’ undeclared accounts and that they advised clients to use offshore credit cards linked to offshore accounts.
It also alleges defendants discouraged U.S. customers from taking part in the U.S. tax amnesty program that lured in 15,000 tax dodgers in 2009. The U.S. just revived that program, with less generous terms.
The court filing also names two unnamed private Swiss banks and an Israeli bank with headquarters in Tel Aviv, with a subsidiary in Switzerland.
The indictment alleges the bankers spurred their clients to move money from Credit Suisse to smaller Swiss banks, the Israeli bank and a bank in Hong Kong.
U.S. tax commissioner Douglas Shulman has said authorities are looking beyond Europe to Asia as money moves globally amid the U.S. probes into foreign banks.
In a separate case, on Tuesday, a U.S. law enforcement official said a Credit Suisse banker was arrested in New York and was being moved to Florida for a court appearance.
(Additional reporting by Kevin Gray in Ft. Lauderdale, Martin De Sa’Pinto in Zurich, Maria Aspan in New York and Jeremy Pelofsky in Washington) (Reporting by Kim Dixon; editing by John Wallace, Lisa Von Ahn and Bernard Orr)