LawFuel.com – Banking Law Newswire –
In First-Ever Guilty Plea to Tax Law Violations by a Foreign Bank,
Wegelin & Co. Agrees to Pay $74 Million to the United States
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Kathryn Keneally, the Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division of the Department of Justice, and Richard Weber, the Chief of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”), announced today the guilty plea of Wegelin & Co. (“WEGELIN”), a Swiss private bank, for conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and others to hide more than $1.2 billion in secret Swiss bank accounts and the income generated in these accounts from the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”). One of the managing partners of WEGELIN, Otto Bruderer, appeared on behalf of the bank to enter the guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff. This case represents the first time that a foreign bank has been charged for facilitating tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers and the first guilty plea by a foreign bank to tax charges.
As part of its guilty plea, WEGELIN agreed to pay approximately $20 million in restitution to the IRS and to pay a $22.05 million fine. In addition, WEGELIN agreed to the civil forfeiture of an additional $15.8 million, representing the gross fees earned by the bank on the undeclared accounts of U.S. taxpayers. Together with the April 2012 forfeiture of over $16.2 million from WEGELIN’s correspondent bank account, this amounts to a total recovery to the United States of approximately $74 million.