Swiss Firm to Pay Millions in Tax Evasion Settlement

Posted in Offshore Account Update on September 1, 2017 | Share

The United States Department of Justice has entered into an agreement with a Swiss asset management firm. The firm will pay $5 million to settle allegations that it helped U.S. affiliated clients to evade their tax obligations. The firm, Prime Partners SA, is one of a huge number of foreign entities that have cooperated with the Department of Justice.

When foreign banks, asset managers or other foreign financial institutions make deals with the IRS, these deals usually involve disclosing information about accountholders, about specific transactions, and about techniques used to evade taxes. The IRS And Department of Justice (DOJ) can use the information provided to them to pursue investigations into individual taxpayers, who are then at risk of criminal prosecution and substantial civil fines.

If you have money invested offshore and you have not fully complied with all U.S. rules, you could be very vulnerable to significant financial loss – especially as the list of financial institutions cooperating with the DOJ seems to grow every day. You should consult with a Washington DC tax law firm now to get ahead of an IRS investigation, explore options for reducing penalties, and devise a comprehensive legal strategy to deal with your tax problems.

Swiss Firm Will Pay Millions to Settle Tax Evasion Allegations

Prime Partners managed approximately $270 million worth of assets owned or controlled by U.S. affiliated taxpayers in 2008.  The firm, which was founded in 1998, has a total of $2.6 billion in assets. It was accused by the IRS of helping many of the U.S. connected accountholders to open foreign bank accounts and to maintain those bank accounts in secrecy for a full decade.

To avoid criminal prosecution, Prime Partners cooperated with the DOJ. Many financial institutions have made the same decision in the past. In fact, the IRS actually set up a special Swiss Bank Program to streamline the process of foreign banks coming forward to negotiate agreements and admit their part in tax evasion in exchange for avoiding prosecution.  The penalties faced by financial entities that cooperate with the DOJ are typically much less stringent than those imposed against non-cooperating institutions and, in fact, Prime Partners will need to pay just $5 million to settle its legal problems with the DOJ.

Prime Partners has long been cooperating with the DOJ, and the level of cooperation has actually been described as “extraordinary,” according to prosecutors.  Prime Partners provided 175 client files to the DOJ without redacting any information about its accountholders. As part of the non-prosecution agreement that Prime Partners made with DOJ prosecutors, it will continue to hand over accountholder information. 

The information being provided is likely enough to make it possible for U.S. authorities to go after individual investors whose money was managed by Prime Partners and whose records the DOJ has now obtained.  If you could potentially come under investigation, you should be proactive by calling a Washington DC tax law firm to find out about options that are open to you before the DOJ and IRS begin investing, as many of your options will be closed off if you are under investigation already.  Contacting attorney Kevin Thorn as soon as possible may be the best way to reduce the severity of penalties and fines you could face for not complying with all of the U.S. tax laws.

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