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Two More Banks Participate in Swiss Bank Program

Posted in Offshore Account Update on February 12, 2016 | Share

In December, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) SA and Edmond de Rothschild (Lugano) SA (collectively EdR Switzerland) joined the long list of financial institutions participating in the Swiss Bank Program.

This program provides amnesty from criminal prosecution for banks that pay financial penalties for their part in helping people in the United States evade their obligations to the Internal Revenue Service.  Banks that participate cannot simply choose to only pay fines, but they must also agree to cooperate with U.S. authorities in providing detailed information about accountholders and financial transactions.

A Washington DC tax evasion attorney can provide assistance to accountholders when financial institutions where they had offshore funds become part of the Swiss Bank Program.  It may be possible for those with undeclared offshore accounts to join an Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) or explore other ways to lessen potential penalties for tax law violations. Act quickly to find out what legal options you have, as you may have choices now that you won't have once the IRS begins pursuing criminal or civil actions against you.

MORE BANKS MAKE DEALS WITH DOJ TO TURN OVER ACCOUNTHOLDER INFO

Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) SA is a Swiss corporation that operates Edmond de Rothschild (Lugano) SA as a subsidiary.  Collectively, the institutions can be referred to as Edmond de Rothschild Switzerland, or EdR Switzerland.

EdR Switzerland is accused of helping to facilitate tax evasion for decades by assisting clients in opening and maintaining undeclared offshore accounts. The institutions reportedly offered code-number accounts and hold mail services; assisted in the creation and use of sham entities; provided offshore credit and debit cards to repatriate funds; and structured transfers of funds to avoid triggering currency reporting requirements. 

Other actions taken to help U.S. accountholders avoid taxes included facilitating transfers to foreign bank accounts of non-U.S. associates; suggesting the use of IRS forms with false statements claiming sham entities owned account assets; and divesting U.S. securities from undeclared U.S. accounts to subvert the institution's Qualified Intermediary Agreements with the IRS.

Because EdR Switzerland could face criminal penalties, the banks entered into the Swiss Bank Program. As a condition of participating in this program, EdR paid $45.245 million and was required to make comprehensive disclosures regarding U.S.-related accounts.  The financial institutions described cross-border business in detail and provided actionable information on accountholders.  The institutions managed approximately 950 U.S. client accounts with a total of $2.16 billion in assets.

All of these accountholders are now at risk of the IRS coming after them with the information EdR Switzerland has provided.  Since these two banks join a long list of institutions participating in the Swiss Bank Program, many other investors are also at risk already.  More banks make deals with the DOJ all the time, so virtually no one is immune from risk if they have undeclared offshore funds.

It is important to take action quickly.  A DC tax evasion attorney like Kevin Thorn can help you discover what options you may have for trying to reduce possible penalties for noncompliance with tax laws. Contact him today.


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