Credit Suisse pleads guilty to U.S. criminal charge in tax probe

Mon May 19, 2014 7:17pm EDT
 
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By Aruna Viswanatha, Douwe Miedema and Karen Freifeld

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Swiss bank Credit Suisse on Monday pleaded guilty to a criminal charge for its role in helping Americans dodge taxes, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, and will pay more than $2.5 billion as part of an agreement with U.S. authorities.

Separately, the New York Department of Financial Services said it had determined not to revoke the bank's license in the state.

U.S. prosecutors criminally charged Credit Suisse and two of its units, saying the bank helped clients deceive U.S. tax authorities by concealing assets in illegal, undeclared bank accounts, in a conspiracy that spanned decades.

Credit Suisse will pay financial penalties to the U.S. Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Reserve and the New York State Department of Financial Services to settle the charges. It had already paid $200 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"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 press conference.

Credit Suisse Chief Executive Brady Dougan said in a statement, "We deeply regret the past misconduct that led to this settlement."

He added, "We have seen no material impact on our business resulting from the heightened public attention on this issue in the past several weeks."

The Swiss bank, which has a large business managing wealthy clients' money, helped them withdraw money from their undeclared accounts by either providing hand-delivered cash to the United States or using Credit Suisse's correspondent bank accounts in the U.S., the Justice Department said.   Continued...

 
The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen below the Swiss national flag at a building in the Federal Square in Bern May 15, 2014. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich