December 27, 2013
Bloomberg’s note on December 23 that Swiss banks were having a hard time complying with the terms of an agreement between the Swiss government and the U.S. Department of Justice hardly caused a ripple of media concern, not to mention outrage. The time for such expressions is long past.
In accordance with the deal cut back in August 2009, the Department of Justice now has the power to force Swiss banks to disgorge any and all information the DOJ demands in its quest to levy taxes, penalties, and interest, and possibly to issue criminal charges against alleged U.S. tax evaders. The DOJ said:
Under the agreement … the Swiss government will … initiate procedures which could result in the turning over of thousands of accounts to the IRS.
The IRS will receive information on accounts of various amounts and types, including bank-only accounts, custody accounts in which securities or other investment assets were held and offshore company nominee accounts through which an individual indirectly held beneficial ownership in the accounts.
How effective has that agreement been in punishing miscreants and collecting back taxes and interest? Says the DOJ:
The division’s current offshore program began in 2008, with the investigation of UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank. As a result of that investigation, in February 2009, UBS entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) and admitted guilt on charges of conspiring to defraud the United States by impeding the IRS, exited the business of providing banking services to U.S. customers with undeclared accounts, and paid $780 million in fines, penalties, interest, and restitution.
This article was posted: Friday, December 27, 2013 at 5:57 am