Credit Suisse fined $2.6bn by US for ‘decades’ of tax evasion


Credit Suisse has been hit with a $2.6bn (£1.7bn, €2bn) fine for operating an illegal cross-border banking business that helped thousands of American clients evade tax.

For decades prior to 2009, the bank opened and maintained "secret accounts", concealing the offshore assets and income of US citizens from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The bank also destroyed account records sent to the United States for client review, used its managers and employees as unregistered investment advisers on undeclared accounts, and provided offshore credit and debit cards to deport funds in the undeclared accounts.

On 19 May, the Swiss corporation pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid and assist US taxpayers in filing false income tax returns and other documents with the IRS.

At the time, Credit Suisse chief executive Brady Dougan said: “We deeply regret the past misconduct that led to this settlement.

“The US cross-border matter represented the most significant and longstanding regulatory and litigation issue for Credit Suisse. Having this matter fully resolved is an important step forward for us.”

The Virginia court has now ordered the financial services company to pay $1.8 billion in both a criminal fine and compensation. An additional $100 million will be paid to the Federal Reserve and $715 million to the New York State Finance Department.

The bank has agreed to cooperate to fully disclose all of its cross-border activities, which includes providing account information and details about other banks that transferred funds into undeclared accounts.

“Credit Suisse is held fully accountable for helping US taxpayers engage in tax evasion,” said deputy attorney General Cole.

“As we expand our offshore investigations, not just in Switzerland, but around the world, the message to banks who engaged in these crimes is clear: step forward, accept responsibility for your past conduct, and help us hold responsible the US taxpayers who benefitted, and the individuals who assisted them. Only through full cooperation will you avoid the most severe sanctions.”

The verdict follows years of investigating by US law enforcement authorities, which have also charged seven Credit Suisse employees, of which two have pleaded guilty so far.

US attorney Boente said: “Simply put, if you are in the business of hiding money from the US government you will be caught, you will be prosecuted and you will pay the price for your crime.”