Swiss bank Wegelin, who
last week had three employees charged by US prosecutors for
conspiring to hide more than $1.2bn taxable assets, said that US
prosecutors pose no threat to the bank.
Responding to questions
posed by a Swiss newspaper, Wegelin issued a bold statement saying
that a US indictment of Wegelin or a Wegelin partner was not a
danger to the bank itself.
The indictment, filed in
the United States District Court in New York, identified the
bankers as Michael Berlinka, Urs Frei and Roger Keller.
Berlinka is understood to be a director and Keller a wealth
Wegelin, like several
smaller Swiss private banks, operates on an unlimited liability
basis meaning its directors are wholly liable for any
The Swiss-based bank
said that a court decision resulting in a financial penalty for one
partner is the sole responsibility of that partner and does not
represent a liability for the bank.
Wegelin underlined that
an indictment was not a conviction and any subsequent conviction
that might occur would be contested and its enforceability
Wegelin said that those
who claimed that Wegelin’s existence was under threat “are verging
on defamation and wilfully seeking to damage the bank.”