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Tax Lawyer Takes a Closer Look at Société Générale Private Banking

Posted in Offshore Account Update on November 13, 2015 | Share

The United States Department of Justice has created the Swiss Bank Program to make it possible for banks to avoid criminal consequences for helping U.S. accountholders evade their reporting and income tax obligations. The Swiss Bank Program creates different categories of banks. Category 1 banks are financial institutions the DOJ was already investigating by the time the Swiss Bank Program was announced on August 29, 2013. Category 1 banks cannot participate in the program. Category 2 banks, on the other hand, are those that were not under investigation yet, but the government has reason to believe they have committed acts that would be considered in violation of U.S. tax law.

A category 2 bank can come forward, provide the required information to U.S. authorities about accountholders, pay fines and enter into a non-prosecution agreement. Many offshore financial institutions have taken this deal, including Société Générale Private Banking. Société Générale Private Banking submitted its Letter of Intent to participate in the Swiss Bank Program back in December of 2013. It has since entered into an Agreement with the DOJ.

Accountholders of Société Générale Private Banking should be aware their information has already been provided to authorities. Those with funds in other offshore accounts should know their own financial institutions could take similar action as Société Générale Private Banking and turn over customer information to save the bank money and legal troubles. If you are an offshore accountholder who is being investigated or concerned you may become the target of an IRS action now or in the future, call a Washington DC criminal tax lawyer today to learn what options may be available to you.

Société Générale Private Banking Participates in Category 2 of Swiss Bank Program

Société Générale Private Banking came forward as a Category 2 Bank because the bank was aware of its past activities assisting accountholders affiliated with the U.S. in hiding funds offshore. U.S. accountholders are supposed to file annual reports declaring foreign assets and they must pay all appropriate taxes on their offshore income.

Société Générale Private Banking agreed to pay a penalty of $17,807,000 as part of its non-prosecution agreement. The bank disclosed how its cross-border business was structured and operated and gave the DOJ the names of the individuals who facilitated cross-border business in connection with U.S. accounts.

Société Générale Private Banking also gave the DOJ details on the total number of U.S.-related accounts, the maximum dollar value of each account, the relationship of each account to U.S. persons or entities, the type of interest the U.S.-affiliated people or entities had in the account, whose name the accounts were in, whether the accounts had U.S. securities and how funds were transferred.

The information provided is more than enough to give the DOJ and IRS ammunition to go after individual accountholders. Once you are under investigation personally as an accountholder who attempted to avoid tax responsibilities, you will no longer be able to participate in amnesty programs intended to give individuals the ability to avoid criminal prosecution.

This means you need to talk with a DC criminal tax lawyer like Kevin Thorn about what the consequences of an investigation could mean for your future. If you are not already under investigation, it might not be too late to participate in an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), which has been set up to allow accountholders to come forward. Call Kevin today to learn about your options.


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