Credit Suisse is the subject of a US tax evasion investigation and a Senate investigation into the accounts

NEW YORK — The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether Credit Suisse Group continued to help U.S. clients conceal assets from authorities, eight years after the bank paid a 2.6 tax evasion settlement billion (S$3.7 billion) and pledged to address the issue.

Investigators are investigating whether the bank assisted US account holders, particularly with South American passports, who may not have notified the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of assets totaling hundreds of millions of dollars , according to sources familiar with the matter. Former bankers have denounced the bank, according to court records.

The main banking unit of Credit Suisse pleaded guilty in 2014, admitting he has helped thousands of Americans evade taxes. He paid US$2.6 billion as part of the deal, which required him to close “any and all” US accounts not reported to the IRS.

The Zurich-based bank denies any improper conduct and says it is cooperating with US authorities.

“Credit Suisse does not tolerate tax evasion,” the bank said in a statement. “We have implemented significant improvements since 2014 to root out individuals who seek to conceal assets from tax authorities. Our clear policy is to close unreported accounts when identified, and to sanction any employee who fails to comply not the policy of the bank or who does not respect the credit policy high standards of conduct of Switzerland.”

Investigations add pressure on a bank seeking to implement a strategy that will revamp its risk culture, reduce its unprofitable investment bank and bring it back to profitability. Credit Suisse could sell parts of its wealth management business in Latin America and drastically reduce or further exit its investment banking business. The stock is down about two-thirds since the scandals surrounding Greensill Capital and Archegos Capital Management early last year.

repeat offenders

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco has pledged to crack down on repeat business offenders, but it’s unclear whether the Justice Department will take action against the bank, such as with new charges or a sanction. financial.

The bank’s outside attorneys argued before Washington prosecutors, saying it broke no laws and deserved no further punishment, according to the sources, who were not authorized to discuss the case publicly.

They also met with investigators from the US Senate Finance Committee, which will release a report in the coming weeks.

The Justice Department declined to comment. In a filing last year, his prosecutors cited “ongoing law enforcement activities” related to the bank’s plea deal and “discussions with Credit Suisse regarding the identification and correction remaining Swiss accounts held by US citizens”.

US taxpayers are expected to pay income taxes anywhere in the world, and foreign banks must notify the IRS of US accounts.

The Senate Finance Committee, led by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, is also preparing a report that will discuss how the bank has controlled dual citizenship.

Complex IRS rules can confuse banks trying to determine whether accounts are controlled by US residents, the sources said.

The committee investigated reports “suggesting that Credit Suisse continued to serve U.S. citizens hiding undeclared accounts overseas,” Wyden said in a statement.

“Any systemic failure to crack down on the bank’s unreported U.S. accounts would be a clear violation of its plea agreement with the Justice Department.”

In light of the Justice Department’s commitment to crack down on repeat corporate offenders, “this case demands thorough investigation and accountability,” Wyden said.

BLOOMBERG

Norman D. Briggs