(MENAFN) The US Senate Finance Committee released the findings of a two-year investigation on Wednesday, accusing Credit Suisse of complicity in ongoing tax evasion by ultra-wealthy Americans. The investigation revealed major violations of Credit Suisse's 2014 plea agreement with the US Justice Department, which was made for enabling tax evasion by thousands of wealthy Americans. The Senate committee uncovered an ongoing and potentially criminal conspiracy involving the failure to disclose nearly USD100 million in secret offshore accounts belonging to a single family of American taxpayers. The investigation also revealed the extent to which Credit Suisse bankers aided offshore tax evasion by US businessman Dan Horsky, who pleaded guilty in 2016 to one of the largest criminal tax evasion cases in American history.
The committee requested information from Credit Suisse on other large and undeclared accounts belonging to ultra-wealthy Americans with more than USD20 million at their bank. Credit Suisse identified 23 accounts, with more reviews underway, by the conclusion of the investigation. The amount concealed in violation of Credit Suisse's 2014 plea agreement is more than $700 million, according to the committee's findings.
Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, criticized Credit Suisse and government regulators for their role in the ongoing conspiracy. He said, "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 US citizens to evade taxes and rip off their fellow Americans." Wyden added that Credit Suisse did not make good on its promise to get out of the business of defrauding the United States, and the bank's pending acquisition by UBS does not wipe the slate clean.
Credit Suisse pleaded guilty in May 2014 to conspiracy to aid and assist US taxpayers in filing false income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and agreed to pay a USD2.6 billion fine – the highest by then in a criminal tax case investigation. Credit Suisse's biggest investor, Saudi National Bank, said it could no longer financially assist the bank, and despite Credit Suisse taking a 50 billion Swiss francs (USD54.4 billion) loan from the Swiss National Bank, depositors quickly pulled their money out, leading to the bank's collapse. UBS reached an agreement on March 19 to buy Credit Suisse for 3 billion Swiss francs.
Overall, the Senate committee's investigation into Credit Suisse's complicity in ongoing tax evasion highlights the continued challenges in holding banks accountable for their role in facilitating illegal activities by wealthy clients.
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