How Credit Suisse Helped U.S. Clients Evade Taxes

From secret elevators to meetings at golf clubs, a new report unveils ''cloak and dagger" techniques

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Credit Suisse used elaborate measures to help thousands of wealthy clients avoid billions of dollars in American taxes, a new report by a US congressional committee alleged.

The Swiss banking giant reportedly adopted measures that included taking clients to meetings in Zurich on remote-controlled, button-less elevators; handing the customer bank statements hidden in a Sports Illustrated magazine during breakfast at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York; and meeting clients at bank-sponsored events, including the annual “Swiss Ball” in New York and golf tournaments in Florida.

The report alleges Swiss bankers made 150 separate trips between 2001 and 2008 to the United States to meet clients and to solicit new business.

Credit Suisse also encouraged U.S. customers to travel to Switzerland, the report said, by providing them with a branch office at the Zurich airport that would offer a wide-ranging set of banking services. Nearly 10,000 U.S. customers availed themselves of that office. Once in Switzerland, clients were advised on how to engage in activities without creating a paper trail that could betray the secrecy of their Swiss accounts.

The Senate report, based on a two-year investigation, maintained that Credit Suisse had “had over 22,000 U.S. customers with Swiss accounts whose assets, at their peak, exceeded 12 billion Swiss francs,” or about $13.4 billion dollars.

The investigation found that the vast majority of the accounts were undeclared. To date, due to Swiss Government restrictions, the United States has obtained the names of only about 230 U.S. clients with hidden accounts at Credit Suisse, the report said.

Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan expressed regret about the bank’s conduct.

“Credit Suisse’s management team regrets very deeply that despite the industry-leading compliance measures we put in place, we had some Swiss-based private bankers who appear to have violated U.S. law.” said Dougan during his opening testimony for Wednesday’s hearing by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating 14 other Swiss banks for facilitating tax evasion, the report also said.

2 comments
btt1943
btt1943

If highly respectable Credit Suisse has been doing what it is being accused of, one would reckon that other giant banks could have done likewise for a long time. This world of fraudulence knows no bound. Most rich are greedy for more money, and they will amass it one way or another. Anyway, this is hardly a new revelation.

texpat99
texpat99

This is absolutely outrageous.  Credit Suisse has retail banking operations throughout Switzerland and this airport "branch" is the same branch that any average Swiss would go in to handle day to day banking needs.  


Further Credit Suisse has offices scattered all over Zurich and the Group Global HQ in Paradeplatz (which is relatively small for a bulge bracket financial services HQ) is the only one that has these remote controlled elevators.  Anyone going to that building, even an employee going to meet colleagues based in that building (like myself) use these same elevators.  They are remote controlled, by the receptionist via a panel on the reception podium due to the heightened security.  It's hardly secret.  What bank HQ in the US would allow anyone in of the street to go where they please??


Switzerland has a centuries old banking secrecy culture that has served that country well.  The Swiss pride themselves on discretion.  Switzerland has been exporting banking expertise long before the USA was even a thought.  How dare these hyped up parasitic tax eating Senate blowhards stick their noses into what laws the Swiss parliament passes, and demand they give up names so they can get their grubby hands on more tax revenues to waste.  One day the USA will learn to stop bullying other countries.