The Zurich-based private bank has agreed to pay $23.92 million (CHF24.24 million) in fines to the United States authorities under a programme to avoid prosecution for tax-related offenses concerning undeclared US accounts.
“Maerki Baumann willfully and actively helped US taxpayers evade their tax obligations and cheat the American public,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline Ciraolo of the US Justice Department’s Tax Division in a statement on Tuesday.
“Today’s agreement reveals the extent of such conduct and holds Maerki Baumann accountable, requiring the bank to make a detailed disclosure of its cross-border activities, pay an appropriate penalty, and provide continuing and extensive cooperation against its representatives, account holders and other institutions.”
The bank had 571 US-related accounts since August 2008, with assets of around $790 million under management, including assets of declared accounts. It was able to reduce its penalty by encouraging its US account holders to comply with tax and disclosure obligations.
“Maerki Baumann ceased doing business with US clients as long ago as 2009,” the bank said in statement on Tuesday. “Since then the private bank has focused mainly on its core business with clients from Switzerland and Europe.”
The private bank also revealed that the fine “is already covered by provisions” and that “the bank's operating result will not be affected by this payment”. It currently manages client assets of over CHF7 billion.
Maerki Baumann is the 52nd Swiss bank to pay a fine under the so-called “category two” of the justice department’s agreement with Swiss financial institutions. Around 100 Swiss banks had initially signed up to the programme. Banks are placed in a category – one, two or three – depending on their level of exposure to US clients.