DOJ: Swiss bank to pay $60M under agreement in tax-evasion case

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A Swiss bank has agreed to pay $60.4 million in penalties under a deferred prosecution agreement in a tax-evasion conspiracy case, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Tuesday.

“The era of hiding money overseas to evade U.S. tax obligations is over,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard Zuckerman of the DOJ’s Tax Division said in a news release. “Financial institutions, professionals, and accountholders are on notice that the Department continues to aggressively pursue these offenses and will hold both individuals and entities accountable.”

The DOJ said that Switzerland-based Basler Kantonalbank (BKB) has admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. on taxes, commit tax evasion and file false federal tax returns from 2002 to 2012. At the peak in 2010, the bank had more than 1,000 accounts for U.S. taxpayers, many of which were undeclared, with a value of about $813.2 million.{mosads}

Under the terms of BKB’s agreement with prosecutors, the bank will cooperate fully with the IRS and other U.S. authorities and disclose certain information about accounts closed between 2009 and 2017. Authorities will defer prosecuting BKB for an initial three-year period to give the bank time to show good conduct, DOJ said.

The bank has agreed to pay $17.2 million to the IRS that represents unpaid taxes stemming from its role in the conspiracy, $29.7 million to the U.S. government that represents gross fees it earned on undeclared accounts, and a fine of $13.5 million, the DOJ said.


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