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August 6, 2019

LLB Verwaltung (Switzerland) fined $10.6m over tax evasion charges

Private bank LLB Verwaltung (Switzerland) has agreed to pay a fine of $10.6m to the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) to settle tax evasion allegations.

The bank, previously known as Liechtensteinische Landesbank (Schweiz), was accused of helping US clients dodge taxes by conspiring with a Swiss asset manager.

Some of the bank’s staff along with its management were said to be involved in the matter.

Supported by Swiss bank secrecy protections, the Swiss asset manager enabled US clients to evade taxes by helping them launch nominee structures including foundations and trusts in tax havens, DoJ noted.

Besides, LLB-Switzerland handed over the responsibility to prepare account opening and KYC documentation to the Swiss asset manager.

LLB-Switzerland had around 100 US clients with almost $200m in assets at its peak, with most of the accounts being in the names of nominee entities.

Additionally, LLB-Switzerland agreed to cooperate in criminal or civil proceedings.

This will offer it immunity against prosecution in tax-related criminal offenses, the regulator said.

The regulator indicated that the bank made comprehensive remediation initiatives since 2012 including ending US cross-border business with US clients, halting relationship with the Swiss asset manager, and closing LLB-Switzerland.

DoJ principal deputy assistant attorney general Richard Zuckerman said: “This resolution is another step forward in the Department of Justice’s pursuit of tax evaders, who use foreign bank accounts to commit criminal activity, and those institutions, who enable such criminal tax activity.

“The Department is dedicated to holding both financial institutions and individual offenders accountable for tax evasion.”

 

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