3 Swiss Bankers Charged With Aiding Tax Evasion

The tax authorities in the USA are prosecuting 3 Swiss bankers on charges of aiding tax evasion: in the latest global crackdown on tax fraud linked to secretive offshore bank accounts.

The New York Times (David Jolly) reported that the oldest Swiss bank, Wegelin & Company, has confirmed that 3 of its employees “had been indicted by prosecutors in New York for helping United States taxpayers to hide more than $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.”

On 3 January 2012 the Southern District of New York’s attorney announced the indictment of three men living in Switzerland: Michael Berlinka age 41, Urs Frei age 51, and Roger Keller age 47.   They are accused of helping to set up dozens of secret accounts in Zurich, and of helping clients to ‘‘to hide from the IRS both the existence of certain Swiss bank accounts, as well as the income they generated.”  They face maximum prison terms of 5 years each, and fines of up to $250,000; if convicted.

The New York Times also stated that the US Government is “pursuing criminal charges against 11 Swiss institutions in an effort to bring about a comprehensive agreement to ensure Americans cannot hide money in Swiss banks”.

Meanwhile in the UK Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs has signed an agreement with Switzerland designed to flush out hidden bank accounts.  The Swiss Tax Agreement gives HMRC a new power to discover whether an individual UK resident has an account in Switzerland, and to get details about those bank accounts.   A new UK-Swiss joint commission will conduct a “programme of audits”, to ensure the Swiss banks’ compliance with their obligations. Then, from 2013, there will also be a new Withholding Tax (of 48% on investment income and 27% on capital gains): which will apply to anyone who has not told the taxman about those assets.

Criminal Prosecutions
Lynam Tax Investigation Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax investigation we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.
*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call Paul Lynam today on 0845 643 9997