Connect to share and comment

Credit Suisse probed by US tax authorities

The United States has its eye on Credit Suisse as part of an investigation into tax evasion and offshore accounts.

Credit suisseEnlarge
A Credit Suisse sign is pictured in front of a branch of the Swiss bank on July 15, 2010 in Lausanne. (FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse disclosed on Friday that it is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice to determine whether it helped American citizens evade taxes.

The bank said it had received a notice that it was being targeted as part of a broader industry inquiry.

In a statement published by the Associated Press, Credit Suisse said the probe concerned “historical private banking services provided on a cross-border basis to U.S. Persons”, adding that it intended to cooperate with American authorities.

Credit Suisse has received subpoenas in the past, along with other information requests from the Justice Department and other government agencies regarding its international services.

The New York Times reports that the U.S. indicted four Credit Suisse bankers in February for helping Americans evade taxes. Three of them were accused of helping clients set up accounts under false names, and of hiding money in smaller, private Swiss banks.

The U.S. has been pressuring a number of global banks in their fight against tax evasion and, in June last year, the Swiss parliament made it legal for the country's banks to share customer details with US tax authorities.

(GP special report from 2010: Telling Swiss secrets a banker's betrayal)

In a similar case in 2009, Swiss bank UBS paid a $780 million fine, and surrendered client data to the United States in order to avoid a conviction that could have cost it its U.S. banking license.

Meanwhile earlier this year, U.S. authorities were probing the role of British bank HSBC in helping Indian citizens living in the United States to evade taxes.