US Court asks Swiss bank to pay $58 mn for tax evasion
This is for the first time that a foreign bank in the US has been indicted for facilitating tax evasion by US taxpayers and the first guilty plea and sentencing of such a bank.
With the April 2012 forfeiture of more than USD 16.2 million from the US correspondent bank account of Wegelin & Co - a Swiss private bank and the oldest in the country- the US has recovered USD 74 million.
In January, Wegelin had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud Internal Revenue Service (IRS), filing false federal income tax returns and evading federal income taxes before US District Judge Jed S Rakoff.
"Wegelin has now paid a steep price for aiding and abetting tax fraud that should be heeded by other banks, bankers, and advisers who engage in the same conduct," said
the US Attorney Preet Bharara yesterday.
"US taxpayers with undeclared accounts - wherever those accounts may be - should know that their bank may be next, and they should pay what they owe the IRS before we come find them," Bharara said.
According to the indictment, Wegelin had no branches outside Switzerland, but it directly accessed the US banking system through a correspondent bank account that it held at UBS AG in Stamford, Connecticut.
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