http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/303962

German, US authorities arrest bankers on alleged tax evasion plot

Posted Feb 23, 2011 by Andrew Moran
Authorities in Germany and the United States have arrested several individuals who allegedly participated in helping thousands of clients evade their taxes. Prosecutors say one case dates back all the way 1953.
Credit Suisse building in London
Credit Suisse building in London
Jack8080
Although there is not a lot of available data on tax evaders, the Internal Revenue Service notes that approximately 14 percent of tax payments are not made each year. Tax evasion happens in all income brackets.
According to the Cypress Times, four bankers working with the Switzerland-based Credit Suisse Group were indicted Wednesday for helping Americans evade as much as $3 billion in assets from the IRS.
United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil H. MacBride, John A. DiCicco, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman, made the announcement and commended the officers in charge of the case.
The federal prosecutors in Virginia issued arrest warrants for Emanuel Agostoni, Michele Bergantino, Marco Parenti Adami and Roger Schaerer. Everyone, except for Adami (Italian), are Swiss citizens. The prosecution argues that the conspiracy dates back to 1953 and that Credit Suisse maintains thousands of accounts for U.S. taxpayers as of 2008.
The Wall Street Journal notes that the indictment states that bankers participated in “illegal cross-border banking that was designed to assist U.S. customers evade their income taxes by operating and maintaining secret bank accounts at the bank and other Swiss banks."
Furthermore, the indictment alleges that the U.S. tax evaders were discouraged by the bankers from taking part in President Barack Obama’s 2009 amnesty program that encouraged taxpayers to come clean on secret accounts and avoid imprisonment, but pay a penalty, reports the Associated Press.
If convicted, each defendant faces a five-year maximum imprisonment and maximum fine of $250,000.
Credit Suisse has not been charged nor identified in the indictment, but an anonymous law enforcement agent close to the case cited the bank’s identity.
This comes on the same day as German authorities raided the homes and offices of four Credit Suisse employees in Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover and two other small German towns, according to the New York Times.
The half-year “extensive investigation” has looked into allegations that Credit Suisse bankers helped Germans evade their income taxes by putting their assets into Swiss bank accounts.
Spokesperson for Credit Suisse, Marc Dosch, declined to comment on the U.S. case, but said his bank knew about the raids in Germany.
On Sunday, Swiss newspaper, SonntagsZeitung, reported that a banker working for an affiliate of Credit Suisse was arrested in the U.S. for also allegedly helping U.S. taxpayers avoid paying taxes, according to Agence-France Presse.
The newspaper reported that the bank manager for Credit Suisse Private Advisors went to the U.S. to meet American clients on a two-week visit and then was arrested upon his arrival. “The United States suspects (banks) of having helped Americans in tax evasion.”