Hiding US$5.6 billion (R$27.4 billion) is no easy task, but a major Swiss bank tried well. Banque Picdet admitted to conspiring to evade tax on taxpayers in the United States and other countries.
However, the penalty will be far less than the amount hidden by the banking arm of the Picdet Group, which has more than 200 years of history: US$122.9 million (R$603.2 million) in restitution and fines as part of the deal, prosecutors said.
As part of the settlement, the bank also agreed to cooperate with investigations into the hidden bank accounts.
The Justice Department agreed to delay the case for three years if the bank complied with the terms of the deal, then dismissed charges of criminal conspiracy to defraud tax officials.
Between 2008 and 2014, the bank had 1,637 accounts in the names of US customers.
These accounts held more than $5.6 billion of the approximately $20 billion in total U.S. taxpayer assets managed by the bank during the relevant period.
Prosecutors alleged that Pickett’s group helped clients evade U.S. taxes by opening, maintaining and hiding unreported accounts.
According to the deferred prosecution agreement, the bank used “various means” to hide these accounts.
“It also maintained correspondence regarding customer accounts at the bank, rather than sending them to customers in the United States, to ensure that documents reflecting the existence of the accounts remained outside the United States and out of the reach of North American tax authorities.” -Americans.
It also created and managed offshore companies that “had no commercial purpose, but existed solely to help US taxpayer clients of the Picket Group hide their offshore accounts and assets from US tax authorities.”
The Picket Group maintained approximately 529 foreign entities for suspicious U.S. accounts during the relevant period.
The group helped US tax evading clients keep undeclared money overseas by transferring funds from undeclared accounts to accounts that appeared to be held by non-U.S. clients.
These accounts are still effectively controlled by US taxpayer clients through “fictitious donations”.
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Is the bank upset?
The Pictet Group said in a statement that it “follows extensive cooperation with the US authorities and fully complies with Swiss law”.
“Pictet is pleased to have resolved this issue and will continue to take steps to ensure its customers meet their tax obligations,” the statement said.
“Eradicating financial fraud continues to be a priority for this office,” said Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “We encourage companies and financial institutions to report irregularities before we come to you,” he added.
*With information from CNBC
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