Swiss private bank BSI has reached a resolution under the Department of Justice’s Swiss Bank Program to pay a $211m penalty after acknowledging that it helped clients create sham identities to evade US taxes.
According to the Justice Department, BSI had more than 3,000 active accounts secretly tied to US taxpayers after 2008, many of which it knew were not disclosed to US authorities and has also employed myriad schemes to facilitate tax evasion including creating false-front corporations and trusts to hide money.
The Swiss Bank Program, which was announced on 29 August 2013, by the department, provides a path for Swiss banks to resolve potential criminal liabilities in the United States.
Under the program, banks are offered to come forward voluntarily, disclose their cross-border activities, Provide detailed information on an account-by-account basis, assist the department in its investigations of other financial institutions and pay appropriate penalties.
The Department of Justice acting associate attorney general Stuart Delery said: "The department’s Swiss Bank Program is an innovative effort to get the financial institutions that facilitated a massive fraud on the American tax system to come forward with information about their wrongdoing – and to ensure that they are held responsible for it.
"BSI is paying an appropriate penalty for its misconduct and the information and continuing cooperation we have required the banks to provide in order to participate in the program is allowing us to systematically attack offshore tax avoidance schemes."