It was a decade ago that the scandal showing the Swiss bank Credit Suisse had been helping U.S citizens dodge tax first emerged. The bank pleaded guilty to hiding offshore assets and income on behalf of its American customers in 2014. The case culminated in a plea deal, in which the bank agreed to introduce a host of reforms to help prevent further corruption, including submitting reports on the movement of money across international borders.
In March 2023, a report released by the Senate Finance Committee confirmed that the bank has returned to performing tax-dodging services for clients, and has done so for years. In addition, two former Credit Suisse bankers working together with the U.S government have confirmed in media interviews that the bank has returned to hiding assets for American citizens.
In the same month, the bank suffered a collapse. Both the Swiss government and the Swiss National Bank (UBS) invested a combined total of $109 billion dollars to keep the bank functioning and make up for losses.
The release of the report paves the way for potential prosecution, should the U.S press charges. Such a case would have significant repercussions for Credit Suisse, with the whistleblowers’ lawyer estimating a potential penalty of $1.9 billion
How Credit Suisse Helped Its Customers Evade and Avoid Tax
Credit Suisse is reported to have employed a number of techniques to hide assets from the IRS, both before and after their 2014 plea deal. The whistleblowers described bankers turning a blind eye to their customers’ American status. In one case, revealed by an email recovered by the Senate Finance Committee, a customer was encouraged by their banker after renouncing their U.S citizenship – presumably in order to avoid having to declare assets to the IRS.
Another case, involving a Latin American and U.S dual national family, saw Credit Suisse transfer accounts to other offshore banks, without declaring them to U.S authorities until months after the whistleblowers’ collaboration with the government became apparent. There is evidence for the family’s significant wealth and expenditures, including on U.S grounds, but no record of their submitting a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). This violation of FBAR reporting duties, if proven, could be the largest in U.S history.
Senate investigators claim that the bank continued to hide up to $700 million worth of assets after its 2014 plea deal alone.