• Four Credit Suisse Bankers Indicted for Helping U.S. Tax Payers Use Secret Accounts to Evade U.S. Taxes
  • March 10, 2011
  • Law Firm: Gunster Yoakley Stewart P.A. - West Palm Beach Office
  • Yesterday, the U.S Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) announced that four (4) bankers at Credit Suisse Group AG (“Credit Suisse”) namely, Marco Parenti Adami, Emanuel Agustino, Michele Bergantino and Roger Schaerer, had been charged with conspiring with other Swiss bankers to help U.S. customers use secret accounts to evade U.S. income tax (the “Indictment”).

    According to the DOJ, as of the fall of 2008, Credit Suisse maintained thosands of secret accounts for customers in the United States with as much as $3 billion in total assets.  The conspiracy dates back to 1953 and involved two (2) generations of U.S. tax evaders, including U.S. customers who inherited secret accounts at Credit Suisse.

    The Indictment asserts that Marco Parenti Adami, an Italian national, was a senior manager based in Geneva, where he catered to high net worth individuals in North America and managed other bankers with similar clientele.  The Indictment also asserts that Roger Schaerer, a Swiss national, worked for Credit Suisse in New York, where he assisted U.S. taxpayers with their secret accounts.

    The Indictment also charges Emanuel Agustino and Michele Bergantino, as bankers who traveled to the United States to assist U.S. taxpayers in evading U.S. taxes through the use of secret bank accounts in Switzerland.  It is further alleged that Emanuel Agustino left Credit Suisse and continued the tax fraud scheme at two other private Swiss banks.

    According to the Indictment, the bankers and their co-conspirators solicited U.S. customers to open secret accounts, relying on Swiss bank secrecy to permit them to conceal from the IRS their ownership of accounts at Credit Suisse and other Swiss banks.  In addition, the Indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators:

    •Caused U.S. customers to travel outside the United States to conduct banking related to their secret accounts;
    •Opened secret accounts in the names of nominee tax haven entities for U.S. customers;
    •Accepted IRS forms that falsely stated under penalties of perjury that the owners of the secret accounts were not subject to U.S. taxation;
    •Advised U.S. customers to structure withdrawals from their secret accounts in amounts less than $10,000 in an attempt to conceal the secret account and the transactions from U.S. authorities; and
    •Advised U.S. customers to utilize offshore credit and debit cards linked to their secret accounts and provided the customers with such cards.

    According to the Indictment, after Credit Suisse decided to close the secret accounts maintained by U.S. customers, the defendants encouraged and assisted the customers to transfer their secret accounts to other banks in Switzerland and Hong Kong, as a means of continuing to hide their assets from the IRS and discouraged the customers from disclosing their secret accounts to the IRS through the Voluntary Disclosure Program.