Ex-Swiss banker pleads guilty in US tax evasion case
A former banker of Credit Suisse Wednesday pleaded guilty to assisting US customers avoid taxes by hiding assets in secret Swiss bank accounts.
Andreas Bachmann, a Swiss citizen, admitted that between 1994 and 2006 he engaged in a "wide-ranging" conspiracy to defraud US tax officials, the Justice Department said.
Bachmann, 56, pleaded guilty to one criminal count and faces up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and other penalties.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, he must cooperate fully in any US government investigation into criminal activity.
In July 2011 a US indictment charged Bachmann and others with conspiracy to help US customers commit tax fraud.
Credit Suisse maintained thousands of secret accounts for US customers with as much as $3 billion in assets, Justice has said.
Prosecutors said Bachmann traveled twice a year to the United States to visit US customers and would sometimes accept and dole out large sums of cash to clients.
"Today's plea is just the latest step in our wide-ranging investigations into Swiss banking activities and demonstrates the Department of Justice's commitment to global enforcement against those that facilitate offshore tax evasion," Deputy Attorney General James Cole said in a statement.
"We fully expect additional developments over the course of the coming months."
Credit Suisse is one of 14 Swiss banks under US investigation for allegedly accepting tens of billions of undeclared dollars from US citizens.
Credit Suisse chief executive Brady Dougan told a congressional hearing in late February that he regretted that the bank had helped US clients conceal billions from US tax authorities.
But Dougan said the misconduct was the result of just 10-15 rogue bankers and did not reflect the bank's leadership.
Senator Carl Levin, however, said an investigation undertaken by his committee into Credit Suisse showed that "the sad truth is that the era of bank secrecy is not over."
© 2014 AFP