News / Economy

Credit Suisse to Pay $2.5B Fine in US Tax Evasion Case

The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen below the Swiss flag at a building in the Federal Square in Bern, Switzerland, May 15, 2014.
The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen below the Swiss flag at a building in the Federal Square in Bern, Switzerland, May 15, 2014.
VOA News
Credit Suisse has agreed to pay a $2.5 billion fine to authorities in the United States for helping Americans evade taxes after becoming the largest bank in 20 years to plead guilty to a U.S. criminal charge.

The bank's guilty plea resolves its long-running dispute with the United States over tax evasion, but could have implications for the clients and counterparties that do business with the group.

Credit Suisse said it had not seen a material impact in the past few weeks on its business, and that clients faced no legal obstacles from doing business with it despite the guilty plea.

Switzerland's second largest bank escaped what could have been the worst outcome for its business - its top management stayed in place and it will not have to hand over client data, protected by Swiss secrecy laws. And the New York state bank regulator decided not to revoke the bank's license in the state.

U.S. prosecutors said the bank helped clients deceive U.S. tax authorities by concealing assets in illegal, undeclared bank accounts, in a conspiracy that spanned decades, and in one case began more than a century ago.

"This case shows that no financial institution, no matter its size or global reach, is above the law," Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference in Washington.
 
CEO Dougan Brady of Swiss bank Credit Suisse attends the company's annual shareholder meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, May 9, 2014.CEO Dougan Brady of Swiss bank Credit Suisse attends the company's annual shareholder meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, May 9, 2014.
x
CEO Dougan Brady of Swiss bank Credit Suisse attends the company's annual shareholder meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, May 9, 2014.
CEO Dougan Brady of Swiss bank Credit Suisse attends the company's annual shareholder meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, May 9, 2014.

"We deeply regret the past misconduct that led to this settlement," Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan said on Tuesday.

The Justice Department has not often pursued such convictions of financial companies, especially large ones that could become destabilized following an indictment. But U.S. politicians have pushed for tougher punishment for big banks in response to the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

Fine to be paid

Credit Suisse will pay the penalties to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve and New York's banking regulator, the New York State Department of Financial Services. It had already paid just under $200 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Switzerland's left-wing Social Democrats renewed a call first made last week for Dougan and other executives to step down to allow the bank to make a fresh start.

Asked whether he had considered such a move, Dougan, a 24-year veteran of the bank who took over as CEO in 2007, said resignation had "never been a consideration" and he remained committed to the bank.

New York bank regulators discussed replacing Dougan and others, a source familiar with the negotiations said. But in the end, the option was not made a condition of the deal.

The Swiss government said its main concern was that Credit Suisse was managed well and could move on, and that any change in leadership "wasn't the concern of politics."

The bank's chairman, Urs Rohner, told Swiss radio on Tuesday that he and CEO Dougan personally had a clean record, but the same could not be said for the bank's behavior in past decades.

Switzerland's regulator effectively cleared the two, saying it had found no evidence that Credit Suisse top management knew of specific misconduct.

Switzerland's largest bank, UBS, in 2009 entered a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department in which it agreed to pay $780 million in fines and turn over the names of thousands of customers suspected of evading U.S. taxes, an AP report said.

The country's oldest bank, Wegelin & Co., pleaded guilty in January 2013 to U.S. tax charges, admitting that it helped American clients hide more than $1.2 billion from the IRS.

Bank can continue operating

In the Credit Suisse case, officials said a criminal charge was necessary to account for the bank's pattern of misconduct, which included a lack of cooperation and document destruction. But the deal was structured in such a way as to allow the bank to continue operating, the AP reported.

Zurich-based Credit Suisse is on a regulators' list of 29 ``global systemically important banks'' whose failures would be considered a threat to the entire financial system.

The criminal resolution follows a Senate subcommittee investigation that found the bank provided accounts in Switzerland for more than 22,000 U.S. clients totaling $10 billion to $12 billion, according to the AP.

The report said Credit Suisse sent Swiss bankers to recruit American clients at golf tournaments and other events, encouraged U.S. customers to travel to Switzerland and actively helped them hide their assets. In one instance, a Credit Suisse banker handed a customer bank statements hidden in a Sports Illustrated magazine during a breakfast meeting in the United States.

Shares in Credit Suisse climbed Tuesday, gaining 2.84 percent to reach 26.81 Swiss francs on the Swiss stock exchange's SMI index, the French news agency AFP reported.

Analysts said that the fact that Credit Suisse had drawn a line under its legal problems outweighed the importance of paying what is the heaviest fine ever levied in a U.S. tax case, $2.5 billion.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9009
JPY
USD
123.09
GBP
USD
0.6387
CAD
USD
1.2524
INR
USD
63.605

Rates may not be current.