We've been closely following the issue of possible criminal charges against Swiss banks for allegedly facilitating offshore tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers.
As we noted in our November 10 post, U.S. authorities announced a program last August that would allow Swiss banks to put an end to such issues by meeting certain conditions. As we pointed out in that post, however, Credit Suisse AG and some other large banks were not part of that deal.
The reason these larger banks were not part of the deal was that they were already under investigation by U.S. authorities for tax evasion.
In today's post, we will update you on the latest development in this story: settlement talks between Credit Suisse and the U.S. seeking to resolve the offshore account allegations.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Credit Suisse may agree to pay more than $800 million in order to settle with the U.S. Justice Department.
That is obviously a lot of money. But a figure of such magnitude would be roughly comparable to the $750 million fine paid in by another Swiss banking giant, UBS, to resolve similar tax evasion allegations. We have referenced the UBS case in numerous posts, including our October 27 post last year.
In a sense, the UBS fine was handwriting on the wall for Credit Suisse. In 2011, two years after the UBS fine was issued, Credit Suisse earmarked $324 million toward addressing American allegations of conspiring to enable U.S. taxpayers to evade taxes through secret Swiss bank accounts.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Credit Suisse Settlement with U.S. Could Top $800 Million," John Leitzig, Francesco Guerrera and David Enrich, Jan. 22, 2014