• Wed
  • Oct 1, 2014
  • Updated: 10:18am
BusinessBanking & Finance

Over 100 Swiss banks seek amnesty for helping Americans evade tax

More institutions than expected will tell how they helped American clients hide their assets

PUBLISHED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 4:23am
UPDATED : Monday, 27 January, 2014, 6:14am

The top US tax prosecutor says 106 Swiss banks are seeking US amnesty for helping American clients evade taxes.

US prosecutors gave more than 300 Swiss banks until December 31 to seek non-prosecution agreements if they have "reason to believe" they violated tax laws. Banks must disclose how they helped Americans hide assets, hand over data on undeclared accounts and pay penalties.

The programme is the largest assault in a five-year US crackdown on offshore tax evasion.

Kathryn Keneally, assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's tax division, disclosed the number yesterday while cautioning that the final figure could change.

She did not name any banks seeking entry into the programme, which is not open to 14 already under criminal investigation, including Credit Suisse, HSBC and Basler Kantonalbank.

"She said 106 Swiss banks had signed letters of intent," said Bryan Skarlatos, of Kostelanetz & Fink in New York, who heard her speak at a conference in Phoenix, in the US state of Arizona.

"That was more than most people expected. It's a result of the banks' desire to have some certainty regarding their status with DOJ. I believe that DOJ is pleased with the response to the programme so far."

Keneally declined to comment on the amnesty programme after speaking to the American Bar Association's taxation section.

"She said that every new bank in the programme is a new source of information, especially on where the money went, either to other Swiss banks or banks around the world," said Josh Ungerman of Meadows Collier Reed Cousins Crouch & Ungerman in Dallas, Texas. "She said there are a lot of avenues to get information, and some are visible and some are not so visible."

Banks in Switzerland, the largest cross-border financial centre with US$2.2 trillion of assets, closely examined accounts before seeking to join the disclosure programme.

"The takeaway is the US has been successful in getting Swiss banks to really start co-operating and enter into non-prosecution agreements," said Martin Press, a tax lawyer in Florida.

The Swiss government encouraged banks to join the programme, announced in August. The Swiss Bankers' Association criticised the programme's cost and vexing questions, such as who qualifies as a US client and what assets are considered untaxed. The answers could determine how much a bank pays in penalties.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

3

This article is now closed to comments

realestate
With so much illegal money coming from Russia, India, China and others the people in these countries are justifiably raising their voices for the right reasons..its times the rules of the games are changed. Politicians in India have about 350 billion dollars stashed overseas in different banks, this money is the looted money meant for the people and the country's development and infrastructure which sits illegally in Swiss banks. The same can be said of others countries too. Swiss banks who profess in offering unique banking services are infact partners in crime by offering their services of secrecy to criminals and tax evaders..and this has to change and it will change. USA is leading the way and many other countries too will follow suit!! Swiss banks days are numbered like their numbered accounts ..the world is changing and changing for good.
Well done USA!!
jack.loach.92
Swiss Bank Accounts. 2014.
Is your monies safe in these accounts ---- definitely NOT.
Would you get your money back if every body decided to withdraw all their accounts – NO WAY.
Economic Experts say that there would only enough money to repay 50% of their clients.
Are you going to be in the 50% --- that loose your money.-- Get it out NOW.
2012 -- - June. -- Published in Anglo INFO .Geneva.--- USA Trust Fund Investors were sent false and fraudulent documents by Pictet Bank.Switzerland. in order to collect large fees. ( Like MADOFF) ---Even after the SEC in the USA uncovered the fraud Pictet continued to charge fees and drain whatever was left in these accounts. Estimated that $90,000,000 million lost in this Pictet Ponzi scheme.
2012 - - - August ---- German Opposition Leader accuses Swiss Banks of "organised crime."
All the fines that crooked Swiss banks have incurred in the last few years exceeds £15.Billion.
It is also calculated that the secrecy " agreements" with regards to tax evation by their clients will cost the banks another £45 Billion.
The banks are panicking --- the are quickly restructuring their banks ---- from partnerships --
to " LIMITED COMPANIES." ----- this will probably mean that in the future --- they could
pay you only 10% of your monies . and it be legal.
pgrath1
Big mistake.
Any bank that wants to increases its business and prestige should let it be known that they intend to tell the US Government to go f*** themselves.
 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or