tax evasion

A former UBS AG banker gave a primer on the workings of Swiss bank secrecy to a Florida jury hearing the tax-conspiracy trial of Raoul Weil, who once ran the bank’s global wealth-management business. Hansruedi Schumacher told Fort Lauderdale jurors today that he oversaw UBS accounts for about 15,000 U.S. clients in 1999, and most were structured to cheat the Internal Revenue Service. Clients shunned calls or account statements from their Swiss bankers, preferring personal visits, usually in hotels, he said. Bankers often changed hotels to avoid suspicion from the staff. [Bloomberg]

As its name indicates, Deutsche Bank is not a Swiss bank. But it does have a Swiss banking unit, for the same reason every other bank has a subsidiary in a country home to fewer people than New York City, which is the reason why said country of eight million people living on top of mountains has exactly one notable industry: banking. Historically speaking, the kind of banking that means you might not have to pay taxes.

Of course, this sort of banking has run into some troubles, recently, not least of all from Deutsche Bank’s home country. And without Angela Merkel’s willingness to throw down á la François Hollande with Barack Obama, and frankly without much risk to itself, the Frankfurters aren’t putting up a fight. Read more »

Did UBS help clients evade taxes for years and years? Yes, it’s a Swiss bank and that’s what Swiss banks do (did?). Is that any reason for France to go all extortionist on its ass? UBS says no. As an aside, a spokesperson from UBS has suggestion that certain French attorneys ought to go back to law school. Read more »

Several Swiss banks have threatened to freeze American clients’ accounts unless they prove they are, or take steps to become, tax compliant, as the country’s lenders hurry to resolve a tax evasion dispute with the US. The moves – made by a number of banks, according to three people familiar with the situation who did not disclose the identity of the banks involved – come before a deadline at the end of July for banks in a programme set up by the US Department of Justice last year to show which American clients conform to US tax requirements. However, the validity of the banks’ approach has split legal experts. [FT]

In case it was unclear already. Read more »

  • 28 May 2014 at 10:30 AM

U.S. Tax Authorities Have Skied Enough

The Justice Department’s tax-cheat division is ready for some fun in the sun. Read more »

As you may have heard, yesterday Credit Suisse paid a $2.6 billion fine and pleaded guilty to doing the thing that Swiss banks were put on this earth to do– helping American clients avoid paying taxes by hiding their assets from the IRS. Now, some people might worry that copping to engaging in years of highly illegal activity would cause clients and counterparties to look at the bank differently. In fact, CEO Brady Dougan was one of those people, which caused him to get on the horn and conduct a small poll to see if anyone would have trouble doing business with Credit Suisse moving forward. The great news is that apparently no one gives a shit. Read more »