Prominent Swiss bank confesses to aid American taxpayers in hiding billions from IRS


(MENAFN) A prominent Swiss bank has confessed to aiding American taxpayers and others in concealing billions of dollars from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), as announced by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday.

As per US prosecutors, Banque Pictet, the Geneva-based private banking division of the Pictet Group established 218 years ago, held approximately USD 5.6 billion across 1,637 accounts for American citizens. This assistance allegedly enabled these individuals to evade paying approximately USD 50.6 million in taxes to the IRS during the period from 2008 to 2014.

In response to these allegations, Banque Pictet has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the DOJ, agreeing to pay approximately USD 122.9 million in restitution and penalties as part of the settlement with prosecutors.

“This case should provide a clear message to others who try to hide their assets and income offshore. Our special agents are experts in following the money, and they are the best at uncovering schemes that try to defraud the US tax system,” declared IRS Criminal Investigation Head Jim Lee.

Specializing in overseeing clients' assets exceeding USD 720 billion, Banque Pictet focuses on managing funds for high-net-worth individuals and maintains offices in Luxembourg, Singapore, and the Bahamas.

Investigators assert that Banque Pictet, along with its parent company, the Pictet Group, employed "a variety of means" to aid American customers in evading taxes. Alleged methods include permitting offshore entities to establish undisclosed accounts and enabling clients to open life-insurance accounts under names other than their own.

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