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Press watch: Credit Suisse ‘helped US tax evaders’

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The Financial Times reported (25 February 2014) that Credit Suisse made false claims in US visa applications, conducted business with clients in secret elevators and shredded documents to help more than 22,000 American customers avoid US taxes, according to a scathing report by a US congressional committee.

Credit Suisse handed account statements to one client tucked inside a Sports Illustrated magazine as part of its ‘cloak and dagger tactics’, according to Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The bank also helped clients create offshore shell entities to avoid taxes and aided them in structuring transactions to fall below the $10,000 amount that would alert the government, according to the subcommittee’s 175-page report, released on Tuesday.

It said Credit Suisse created an office at Zurich airport where more than 10,000 US accounts were held, known by the code name SIO85. Bankers made 150 trips to the US from 2002 to 2008 to aid in the tax evasion efforts. At its peak, the assets of the more than 22,000 customers totalled as much as $12bn.

In total, about 1,800 bankers were involved in helping clients avoid taxes, leading Senator John McCain, the subcommittee’s top Republican, to call the practices ‘systematic’.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Issue: 1207
Categories: News