Tax Law

4 Foreign Bankers Indicted in US, Accused of Conspiracy to Help Americans Hide Assets, Evade Taxes

Four former bankers at a major Swiss bank have been indicted in federal court in Alexandria, Va., for allegedly conspiring to help U.S. residents evade taxes by hiding assets in secret accounts at four foreign banks in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Israel.

None of the defendants is in custody. Marco Parenti Adami, Emanuel Agustoni, Michele Bergantino and Roger Schaerer are accused of encouraging clients to open undeclared accounts. At least some of the defendants are accused of providing banking services to clients in New York, reports Bloomberg.

The defendants apparently worked together initially at one Swiss bank and then some went on to work at other foreign financial institutions. Although the financial institutions at issue are neither charged nor named in the indictment, tax attorney William Sharp of Sharp Kemm in Tampa, Fla. tells the business publication he would be “shocked” if the U.S. Department of Justice wasn’t pondering possible criminal charges against Swiss bank at which the defendants initially worked together.

“These were key officers and representatives of the bank, conducting what appears to be illegal conduct on U.S. soil,” states Sharp.

The DOJ says in a written statement that the claimed conspiracy has been under way since 1953.

A wave of U.S. tax prosecutions concerning secret accounts in recent years initially focused on a different Swiss bank and accounts in Liechtenstein. However, it appears that some of those who have been targeted by federal investigators have provided information leading to the current cases, according to Bloomberg.

A new amnesty program offers reduced penalties to tax evaders who reveal offshore accounts to the Internal Revenue Service.

Earlier coverage: (May 2008): “Billionaire Olenicoff’s Plea Docs Describe Tax Evasion Techniques” (July 2008): “New IRS Rules Target Secret Offshore Bank Accounts” (Feb. 2010): “Attorney Helped Me Mail Home $211K in Secret Swiss Account Cash, Va. Surgeon Says in Plea” (April 2010): “Happy Tax Day: IRS Charges 7 More Ex-Clients of UBS Swiss Bank”

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