Following the guilty plea by Credit Suisse Group and a huge US$2.6 billion penalty on the bank for aiding US tax cheats, American authorities are expected to speed up their cases against other Swiss banks to determine appropriate penalties.
“We will look at the facts and circumstances of each investigation to determine an appropriate penalty,” Assistant US Attorney General Kathryn Keneally told Bloomberg News. “It should be very clear from the Credit Suisse investigation that cooperation, or the lack thereof, is an important factor.”
The comments come as speculation mounts over the fate of thirteen Swiss banks in criminal tax-evasion probes after Credit Suisse set a new standard for punishment in the US crackdown on offshore tax evasion.
Julius Baer Group, Zuercher Kantonalbank and the Swiss unit of HSBC Holdings are among those seeking to avoid pleading guilty to helping Americans cheat the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
The guilty plea by Credit Suisse last week marked a watershed in a campaign that has led to charges against more than 100 people since 2009, the report noted. Another 100 or so Swiss banks and 43,000 US taxpayers applied to the US Justice Department to avoid prosecution by disclosing in detail how the evasion worked, it said.
The data, compiled by the IRS, is said to have strengthened the US hand against the 13 banks. With the Credit Suisse case over, the pace of the remaining cases is expected to quicken.
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