Credit Suisse under fire as clients hunted for tax evasion

Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:13pm EDT
 
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By Toby Sterling and Joshua Franklin

AMSTERDAM/ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss bank Credit Suisse (CSGN.S: Quote) has been dragged into yet more tax evasion and money laundering investigations, after a tip-off to Dutch prosecutors about tens of thousands of suspect accounts triggered raids in five countries.

Coordinated raids began on Thursday in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, France and Australia, the Dutch office for financial crimes prosecution (FIOD) said on Friday, with two arrests confirmed so far.

The Dutch are "investigating dozens of people who are suspected of tax fraud and money laundering", the prosecutors said, adding that suspects had deposited money in a Swiss bank without disclosing that to authorities.

British tax authorities said they had opened a criminal investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering by "a global financial institution" and would be focusing initially on "senior employees", along with an unspecified number of customers.

Prosecutors in the German city of Cologne said they were also working with the Dutch. "We have launched an investigation against clients of a bank," a spokesman said.

None of the authorities disclosed the name of the bank involved. However, Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-biggest bank, said local authorities had visited its offices in Amsterdam, London and Paris "concerning client tax matters" and it was cooperating.

It said later it had launched an internal probe. "The investigation will be executed by compliance, it will not be executed by the business," Iqbal Khan, who is responsible for Credit Suisse's private banking operations outside Switzerland and Asia Pacific, told Reuters.

"If any individuals are implicated or have violated against these processes or procedures or policies that are in place then we will identify that very quickly."   Continued...

 
The Credit Suisse logo is seen at their offices at Canary Wharf financial district in London,Britain, March 3, 2016.  REUTERS/Reinhard Krause