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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8143
JPY
USD
119.23
GBP
USD
0.6390
CAD
USD
1.1596
INR
USD
63.304

Rates may not be current.