Credit Suisse's London, Paris and Amsterdam offices were contacted by local authorities over client tax matters, it said on Friday, after Dutch prosecutors said they had seized assets and arrested two people in an international hunt for tax evaders.
Credit Suisse’s London, Paris and Amsterdam offices were contacted by local authorities over client tax matters, it said on Friday, after Dutch prosecutors said they had seized assets and arrested two people in an international hunt for tax evaders. The Netherland’s office for financial crimes prosecution (FIOD) said the coordinated raids began on Thursday in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, France and Australia after receiving a tip-off about 55,000 suspect accounts of a Swiss bank. It did not identify the bank.
British tax authorities also said on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering by “a global financial institution” and would be focusing initially on “senior employees”, along with an unspecified number of customers. It also did not identify the institution.
The Dutch are “investigating dozens of people who are suspected of tax fraud and money laundering”, the prosecutors said in a statement. Suspects deposited money in a Swiss bank and did not disclose that to authorities, the statement said. The statement did not identify the bank but Zurich-based Credit Suisse said it had been contacted by authorities in Amsterdam, London and Paris and was cooperating.
However, the Swiss office of the attorney general said it was “disconcerted” by the way Dutch authories had handled the matter and would demand an explanation.
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Dutch FIOD spokeswoman Wietske Vissers said the investigation would “continue for days and weeks” across the various countries. The Netherlands is investing 3,8000 Dutch leads.
Australia’s minister for revenue and financial services, Kelly O’Dwyer, said the country’s financial crime investigator was looking at 340 Australians linked to Swiss bank accounts, which she said were only identified by number.
“The fact that these accounts are unnamed means that by their very nature they are likely to have been established to hide the identity of the owner,” O’Dwyer said.
Dutch authorities declined to give details of how the tip-off they receive enabled them to connect the bank accounts to individuals.
The FIOD said it seized administrative records as well as the contents of bank accounts, immovable property, jewellery, a luxury car, expensive paintings and a gold bar from houses in The Hague, Hoofddorp, Zwolle and the municipality of Venlo in the Netherlands.
The people arrested, one in The Hague and one in Hoofddorp, were not identified.
Vissers referred questions about investigations in the other countries to their national police and to Eurojust, the European Union agency that coordinates cross-border prosecutions, for further information.
Eurojust could not immediately be reached for comment. The Dutch government has passed information to the other countries about 55,000 suspect accounts at the bank.