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5:39 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Senate Report: Credit Suisse Bank Helped Americans Evade Taxes

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 1:20 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Top officials of the Swiss bank, Credit Suisse, told a Senate hearing today that they're committed to unearthing tax evasion by U.S. citizens. The Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report yesterday, that the bank was deeply involved in helping Americans hide their money in secret accounts.

NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: The subcommittee has spent years investigating the use of tax havens by U.S. citizens. Earlier efforts helped lead to the prosecution of the Swiss bank UBS. This latest report focuses on another Swiss banking giant, Credit Suisse. The report says it used aggressive efforts to recruit U.S. customers by showing up at social functions and resorts where rich people gather. And at its peak, some 22,000 Americans had accounts at the bank.

The vast majority of the accounts allegedly haven't been declared to the IRS, as the law requires. The report says the bank has been slow to turn over the names of the account holders and the Swiss government has impeded efforts to force it to do so.

The report also faults the Justice Department, saying it has been slow to pursue the bank legally and has ceded control of the legal process to the Swiss government. And although U.S. officials have indicted seven bank employees for facilitating tax evasion, none has stood trial so far.

Today's hearing will feature several top bank officials, including CEO Brady Dougan, as well as several Justice Department officials. The Justice Department is reportedly in talks with the bank over tax evasion allegations and has refused to comment on the case before now.

Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.