According to US lawmakers who released a two-year investigation detailing the role employees at the troubled Swiss bank played in assisting clients' tax evasion, Credit Suisse has broken the terms of a plea agreement with American authorities by failing to disclose secret offshore accounts used by wealthy Americans to evade paying taxes.
The US Senate Finance Committee revealed on Wednesday that a bank concealed over $100 million in accounts belonging to a family of American taxpayers as part of a continuous, potentially illegal scheme. A US businessman was allegedly aided by Credit Suisse to conceal more than $220 million in offshore accounts from the Internal Tax Agency.
According to the committee, Credit Suisse disclosed that it had discovered 23 accounts, each worth more than $20 million, that had not been disclosed to tax authorities. Several of these accounts had only recently come to light. According to its findings, the bank violated a nine-year-old plea agreement with the US Justice Department by concealing more than $700 million.
"Bank executives vowed up and down they'd get out of the business of scamming the United States, which is why Credit Suisse got a reduction on the penalty it paid in 2014 for aiding tax evasion," said Senator Ron Wyden, the Democratic chairman of the committee.
According to this study, Credit Suisse did not fulfill that pledge, and the bank's impending purchase does not clear the record, he stated.
In light of the instability in the global financial system, the Swiss government pushed for a $3.25 billion buyout of the long-struggling Credit Suisse by rival bank UBS this month. Wider concerns sparked by the failure of two American banks caused consumers to withdraw their money, sending shares of Switzerland's second-largest bank plunging.
On the same day that UBS selected a new CEO to assist with the takeover, the Senate findings present fresh challenges for the company as it attempts to merge with Credit Suisse and form a single Swiss megabank. Also, it is Credit Suisse's most recent run-in with US authorities after settlements for hundreds of millions of dollars regarding the mortgage-backed securities that caused the financial crisis of 2008 were reached.
Credit Suisse said it "does not tolerate tax evasion" and insisted that the Senate report described "legacy issues" — some dating to a decade ago — that have been addressed since. Credit Suisse's years-long problems range from hedge fund losses to fines for failing to prevent money laundering by a Bulgarian cocaine ring.
Since then, we have made significant improvements to catch those trying to hide assets from tax authorities, according to the Zurich-based bank.
The bank stated that its "clear policy is to terminate undeclared accounts when they are discovered and to penalize any employees who fail to comply with bank policy or fall short of Credit Suisse's standards of behavior."