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Tax evasion fines Further Swiss banks settle with American authorities

The Swiss branch of BNP Paribas is one of the three most recent banks to settle with United States authorities

(Keystone)

Three more Swiss banks will pay fines to the United States Justice Department to avoid possible prosecution for helping Americans to evade taxes, the department said on Thursday. 

The three banks, the Swiss unit of BNP Paribas SA ; KBL (Switzerland); and Bank CIC, also agreed to cooperate in any related criminal or civil proceedings, the Justice Department said. They will pay a total of more than $81 million (CHF82 million).           

The banks settled under a voluntary programme the Justice Department launched in 2013 to allow Swiss banks to resolve potential criminal charges by disclosing cross-border activities that helped US account holders conceal assets.

Under the programme, banks also must provide detailed information on the accounts of US taxpayers under investigation. Banks that were already under criminal investigation were excluded from the programme. It placed banks into one of three categories according to their level of exposure to American clients.

BNP Paribas, which will pay $59.8 million of the total penalty, managed about 760 US-related accounts with a peak value of about $1.2 billion in assets under management since August 2008. BNP already set aside money to cover the sum, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

During the same period, KBL maintained 277 US-related accounts with a total value of more than $225 million. The bank will pay $18.8 million of the total penalty.           

Bank CIC, a unit of Crédit Mutuel-CIC, had 261 US-related accounts, which included about $228 million in assets under management since August, 2008. It will pay $3.3 million of the total penalty.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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