By Rob Rowe
The Justice Department announced last week that four banks — Société Générale Private Banking (Lugano-Svizzera), MediBank AG, LBBW (Schweiz) AG, and Scobag Privatbank AG — have reached resolutions under the department’s Swiss Bank Program. Under the program, a bank may avoid prosecution from the U.S. government by, among other things, disclosing to the department its cross-border activities, providing information on its U.S. accounts, cooperating with the investigation, and agreeing to close U.S. accountholders who fail to comply with U.S. reporting obligations.
“These four additional bank agreements signal a change in terrain for offshore banking,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Richard Weber. “No longer is it safe to hide money offshore and expect that it will not be discovered. IRS CI Special Agents will continue to follow the money to find those who circumvent the offshore disclosure laws and hold them accountable.”
On June 3, Justice announced that two other banks, Rothschild Bank AG and Banca Credinvest SA, have reached resolutions under the Swiss Bank Program. “As each additional bank signs up under the Swiss Bank Program, more and more information is flowing to the IRS agents and Justice Department prosecutors going after illegally concealed offshore accounts and the financial professionals who help U.S. taxpayers hide assets abroad,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division.