Last week, subpoenas were issued to Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group. The subpoena comes from the New York Department of Financial Services and targets records and documents that are housed in the New York Branch of Credit Suisse. The demand comes after the announcement of an ongoing federal probe into whether Suisse helped Americans hide undeclared assets overseas.
The subpoena covers expense reports, computer hard drives, emails, travel documents and other types of materials. The New York Department of Financial Services is the state’s highest financial regulatory body. They initially began investigating Credit Suisse after the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released its’ report on the way that Swiss banks aided U.S. citizens set up and maintain accounts that kept undeclared assets hidden from U.S. officials. New York officials were concerned that banks like Credit Suisse helped New Yorker’s avoid state income tax, but quickly became interested in determining whether their citizens were also evading federal tax.
Earlier this year, the bank set aside around $1 billion in anticipation of costs relating to investigations by agencies from the United States. In February, Credit Suisse reached a settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for just over $220 million. Though, that settlement was unrelated to tax evasion and Credit Suisse placed the blame on a group of rogue bankers.
What does this mean for you? The actions of Credit Suisse are demonstrative of a common strategy which is sweeping across Swiss banks and financial institutions beyond: to rat out its’ American account holders in order to save themselves. Here, Credit Suisse’s actions seem to be consistent with that sentiment. Credit Suisse has not only settled and caved with U.S. authorities in the past, they have preemptively set out settlement money that it will undoubtedly hand over to the Department of Justice as either penalties and fines ordered by a court or as part of a deferred-prosecution agreement where the government would pay a large sum of money and avoid any criminal indictments. Either way, if you have an account with Credit Suisse, or any other foreign bank, your information is not safe. It is only a matter of time until your account information is turned over by a bank trying to stop the bleeding and working hard to keep their own out of prison.
It’s not too late to make your situation better. It’s in your best interest to disclose your undeclared offshore assets before the government comes and finds you. The Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Initiative can keep you out of prison and at home with your family. But keep in mind, the terms of the 2012 OVDI program may change very soon to make an offshore voluntary disclosure more expensive and the amnesty from criminal prosecution will not be on the table for ever. Contact the Tax Law Offices of David W. Klasing today so we can bring you in voluntarily to make a disclosure to the criminal investigation division of the IRS before the criminal investigation of the IRS opens an investigation into your offshore assets and accounts at which point we will not be able get you amnesty for your past potentially criminal actions.