USA Striking Hard on Offshore Banks and Individuals Assisting US Citizens on Tax Evasion

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DoJThe U.S. government in cooperation with the Swiss government has unveiled a plan that could potentially require Swiss banks to cooperate with U.S. authorities. The U.S. government is seeking penalties from Swiss banks for assisting U.S. citizens engage in tax evasion. The amount that the U.S. is seeking is close to $10 billion. There is an evident trend that the U.S. is not only targeting its citizens who engage in tax evasion, but the acceptors who mainly are large organizations such as Banks, Lawyers, and Accountants. The most recent case is that of Swiss Lawyer Edgar Paltzer, who holds a dual U.S. – Swiss citizenship. Paltzer has been accused and is assisting prosecutors on various cases that he previously engaged in assisting U.S. citizens hide funds in Swiss bank accounts. It is reported that he has engaged in a plea with authorities, in compensation to the U.S. of any fees he earned in the past. Paltzer, a former partner at Swiss law firm Niederer Kraft & Krey as licensed to practice in New York, was first charged in April on one count of conspiracy with U.S. taxpayers to assist them with undeclared funds via Swiss bank accounts which also involved Stefan Buck, who used to be head of UBS agreed in February 2009 to pay $780. It is believed by prosecutors that the bank gained U.S. clients as the Justice Department pursued other banks such as UBS AG and Wagelin & Co. Wegelin, the oldest Swiss bank, announced it would close their premises after pleading guilty that it helped wealthy U.S. citizens avoid paying taxes. The bank will pay around $74 million. Other Swiss banks, including Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer, continue to be investigated for their roles in helping Americans evade taxes. Swiss banks wished to cooperate, but have been stymied by strict Swiss secrecy laws. In July, Liechtenstein’s oldest bank, Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG, agreed to pay the U.S. authorities $23.8 million for opening and maintaining undeclared bank accounts for U.S. citizens.