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Swiss Bank Admits to Hiding Billions of U.S. Taxpayers’ Dollars from IRS

“This case should provide a clear message to others who try to hide their assets and income offshore,” an IRS official said.
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A Swiss bank admitted to conspiring with U.S. taxpayers and others to conceal billions of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service in more than 1,600 secret bank accounts in Switzerland.

Banque Pictet, the private banking division of the Pictet Group, agreed to pay more than $120 million in restitution to the U.S. Treasury, the Justice Department said Monday.

The bank conspired with American taxpayer clients to hide more than $5.6 billion of the approximately $20 billion in U.S. assets from 2008 through 2014, prosecutors said. The clients evaded about $50.6 million in U.S. taxes through this, per officials.

The $5.6 billion was in 1,637 accounts, and the bank had about 3,736 private accounts owned by U.S. taxpayers, which means that more than 40% of the U.S. accounts held by the bank were implicated in the scheme.

The Prictet Group assisted U.S. taxpayer clients in concealing their undeclared accounts in several ways, including by forming or administering offshore entities and maintaining undeclared accounts in the names of said entities on behalf of U.S. taxpayer clients.

“This case should provide a clear message to others who try to hide their assets and income offshore,” IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Jim Lee said. “Offshore tax evasion is a priority for IRS Criminal Investigation.”

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