Credit Suisse pleads guilty to helping U.S. clients avoid paying taxes

Credit Suisse pleads guilty to helping U.S. clients avoid paying taxes

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse has pleaded guilty to helping some U.S. clients avoid paying taxes to the U.S. government and agreed to pay a $2.6bn fine, BBC News reported.

It is the biggest bank to plead guilty to criminal charges in the U.S. in more than 20 years.

U.S. attorney general Eric Holder said the bank helped U.S. "tax cheats dodge U.S. taxes".

Credit Suisse said in a statement it deeply regretted the past misconduct. The bank said the settlement would reduce its second-quarter net profit by 1.6bn Swiss Francs ($1.8bn).

However, as part of the agreement with US regulators, the bank will not lose its banking license in the U.S.

The bank's chief executive, Brady Dougan, said: "Having this matter fully resolved is an important step forward for us. We have seen no material impact on our business resulting from the heightened public attention on this issue in the past several weeks."

Holder told a press conference: "The bank went to elaborate lengths to shield itself, its employees, and the tax cheats it served, from accountability for their criminal actions. They subverted disclosure requirements, destroyed bank records, and concealed transactions involving undeclared accounts by limiting withdrawal amounts and using offshore credit and debit cards to repatriate funds."

He added that the tax evasion schemes went back decades, saying that in one case, the practice of using sham entities began more than 100 years ago.

However, according to U.S. media reports, neither Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner nor chief executive Brady Dougan are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the agreement.

U.S. authorities have already indicted eight Credit Suisse employees who helped clients evade taxes.

Credit Suisse is not alone. U.S. prosecutors are chasing more than a dozen other Swiss banks for allegedly helping wealthy Americans dodge U.S. taxes, and at the press conference, they hinted that there would be more settlements to come.

In 2009, another Swiss bank, UBS, settled similar charges with U.S. regulators for $780m as well as an agreement in which the bank would give U.S. authorities the names of its so-called "secret" account holders.

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