January 8, 2015 / 10:34 AM / 3 years ago

Credit Suisse offices in Milan searched by Italian tax police

A national flag of Switzerland flies in front of a branch office of Swiss bank Credit Suisse in Luzern October 30, 2014.Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH/MILAN (Reuters) - Credit Suisse's CSGN.VX offices in Milan were searched by Italian tax police last month as part of an investigation into whether the bank helped wealthy Italians hide undeclared funds offshore, an Italian judicial source said.

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.

Credit Suisse confirmed the searches but declined to comment on the reason or elaborate on the probe.

"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.

A judicial source said the searches were linked to an investigation into alleged tax evasion by around 1,000 wealthy Italians who bought insurance policies worth an estimated 8 billion euros ($9.45 billion).

The source said the probe involved Credit Suisse's insurance subsidiaries Life and Pensions, which is based in Liechtenstein, and CS Life in Bermuda.

The Italian tax police declined to comment.

Credit Suisse describes its Life & Pensions unit as a subsidiary which "offers innovative pension solutions that are carefully designed to meet the financial needs of clients in the European Union."

($1 = 0.8464 euros)

additional reporting by Sara Rossi and Silvia Aloisi in Milan and Oliver Hirt in Zurich; Editing by Paola Arosio and Vincent Baby

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