Offshore accounts, and the bankers who manage them, have increasingly been targeted by the U.S. government in its tax evasion enforcement. This can be seen in a criminal tax case which has recently been brought against a Swiss banker.
The case involves a 45-year-old Greek citizen who lives in Switzerland. Reportedly, from 1999 to 2005, the man worked for a large Swiss bank. In 2009, the man began working for a second Swiss bank. The man has been accused of assisting in tax evasion during his time with the first bank.
The man allegedly managed the undeclared accounts of around 150 U.S. clients during his time with the first bank. Reportedly, altogether, these accounts contained hundreds of millions of dollars. Allegedly, the clients used these accounts to hide assets from the IRS.
The man was arrested in the U.S. earlier this year in connection to these allegations. According to a criminal complaint that was recently made public, the man is facing tax evasion charges. It will be interesting to see how this case progresses.
Reportedly, prosecutors have received assistance in their investigation of this matter. Specifically, they have allegedly been given information by a Swiss banker who pled guilty to fraud conspiracy charges last year.
This case demonstrates a couple of things. First, it is yet another example of how aggressive the U.S. government has become in its tax evasion enforcement regarding offshore accounts. Second, it shows how government authorities will sometimes use information supplied by cooperating suspects in their investigations of tax evasion.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "U.S. Charges Ex-UBS Banker in Tax-Evasion Case," Thomas Catan, 2 March 2011