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Banking secrecy Swiss banks to pay $25 million fine to US

Luzerner Kantonalbank (pictured), Habib Bank, Banque Heritage and Hyposwiss Private Bank Genève will each contribute to the $25 million penalty


The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced on Thursday that four Swiss banks will collectively pay a penalty of $25 million (CHF24.7 million) as part of the bank programme to resolve criminal liability issues related to tax evasion.

Luzerner Kantonalbank, Habib Bank, Banque Heritage and Hyposwiss Private Bank Genève have all agreed to pay a settlement, and have signed a non-prosecution agreement with the DoJ, meaning they will continue to cooperate with the department.

“With each agreement executed under the Swiss bank programmeexternal link, the department continues to eradicate Swiss bank secrecy and hold accountable those financial institutions that profited from wilfully assisting accountholders in the evasion of their US tax obligations,” said Caroline Ciraolo, acting assistant attorney of the DoJ Tax Division, in a statementexternal link

“Working with our partners at the Internal Revenue Service, we are following leads and pursuing criminal and civil investigations focused on targets around the globe.”

The Swiss bank programme was established in 2013 to address criminal liability issues surrounding tax evasion by US clients of Swiss banks.

Under the programme, banks must disclose information about potential tax-related offences in connection with undeclared US-related accounts and pay any associated penalties.

In exchange for the banks’ cooperation, the DoJ agrees not to prosecute the banks for tax-related criminal offences.

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