January 8, 2015 / 9:04 AM / in 3 years

Credit Suisse says Milan offices searched by Italian tax police

National flags of Switzerland fly over the entrance of the headquarters of Swiss bank Credit Suisse in Zurich July 31, 2014. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH/MILAN (Reuters) - Credit Suisse said its offices in Milan were searched by Italian tax police last month, following media reports of an investigation into whether a Bermuda subsidiary of the bank helped wealthy Italians hide undeclared funds.

The searches follow a series of investigations against Swiss banks, including Credit Suisse, into their dealings with wealthy clients and hidden offshore accounts, against the backdrop of international pressure on Switzerland’s secrecy laws.

“We can confirm that the Guardia di Finanza has conducted searches at our premises in Milan and that we are co-operating fully with the authorities,” a spokeswoman for Zurich-based Credit Suisse said in an emailed statement on Thursday.

She declined to comment on the reason for the searches, or on the media reports.

Italian media have reported that the searches were linked to an investigation into alleged tax evasion by around 1,000 wealthy Italians for an estimated 8 billion euros ($9.45 billion).

According to the reports, the checks involved a Bermuda subsidiary of the Swiss bank - Life and Pensions - which offered insurance products that authorities suspect allowed wealthy clients to hide funds offshore.

The Italian tax police declined to comment.

($1 = 0.8464 euros)

Reporting By Katharina Bart in Zurich and Silvia Aloisi in Milan; Additional reporting by Sara Rossi in Milan; Editing by Pravin Char

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