February 24, 2011

Four Credit Suisse Bankers Indicted in Tax Conspiracy Case

Charged with helping U.S. taxpayers hide up to $3 billion

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Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG saw the indictment of four of its bankers on Wednesday, as the U.S. charged them with conspiracy. Marco Parenti Adami, Emanuel Agustoni, Michele Bergantino and Roger Schaerer were indicted on charges that they helped U.S. citizens hide as much as $3 billion in assets from the IRS over a span of many years. All but Adami are Swiss citizens; he is Italian but lives in Switzerland. Arrest warrants have been issued for all of them.

Bloomberg reported that the four took part in a “conspiracy [that] dates back to 1953 and involved two generations of U.S. tax evaders including U.S. customers who inherited secret accounts,” according to a U.S. Justice Department statement. The indictment says that the four “knew and should have known that they were aiding and abetting U.S. customers in evading their U.S. income taxes.” It went on to say that in the fall of 2008, the bank held assets amounting to $3 billion in “thousands” of accounts that were not declared to the IRS.

Among other actions, the four are alleged to have set up undeclared accounts that are protected by Swiss bank secrecy laws; providing investment and banking services to the account holders on U.S. soil, in New York; and providing unlicensed banking services, apparently through Agustoni and Bergantino, who visited their clients in the U.S.

Marc Dosch, a bank spokesman in Zurich, said in a statement, “We are cooperating with the authorities in their investigation against these four individuals.” David Walker, a spokesman for Credit Suisse Securities in New York, said in an e-mail quoted in the report, “Credit Suisse is not a target of the investigation.”

The IRS has been cracking down on tax evasion through concealed assets in overseas accounts, with Swiss banks among the targets.

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