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Geneva freezes more than $1bn belonging to US tech entrepreneur

The Geneva public prosecutor has blocked over a billion dollars of a US businessman’s money in Geneva banks as part of the biggest tax evasion case in US history. The 79-year-old billionaire has been accused of tax fraud by the US Department of Justice.

The prosecutor’s office on Thursday confirmed a report from the online portal Gotham City which said the blocked funds had been deposited with the banks Mirabaud and Syz.

On October 15 the US Department of Justice filed charges against the US software entrepreneur for tax evasion, investment fraud, money laundering and other offences. The man is said to have hidden a total of $2 billion (CHF1.8 million) from the tax authorities for decades.

According to the indictment, the man used a web of offshore entities based in Bermuda and Nevis to hide from the IRS income earned on his investments in private equity funds which were managed by a San Francisco-based investment firm. As part of the alleged scheme, he directed untaxed capital gains income to secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland.

The indictment further alleges that to execute the fraud, between 1999 and 2019, he took measures such as backdating records and using encrypted communications and code words to communicate with a co-conspirator, among other alleged actions.

Swiss banks

According to the indictment, tens of millions of dollars have been deposited in Mirabaud’s accounts. Mirabaud itself has not been indicted in these proceedings. Bank Syz is not mentioned in the indictment.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA has not yet been available for a statement.