Two Swiss Banks Reach Deal With DOJ; No Criminal Charges Filed

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In exchange for paying a $7.22 million fine and promising to help the United States government with future tax evasion investigations, Banque Pasche will not be criminally charged for allegedly helping American taxpayers evade taxes through offshore accounts. According to the Department of Justice, 186 accounts at the bank were used from August 2008 to August 2013 by U.S.-related persons or entities to hide assets. The bank operates in Monaco and the Bahamas, both of which are popular jurisdictions for those seeking tax havens.

The Department of Justice also reached a similar deal with Arvest Privatbank, which had 52 accounts used by U.S.-persons or entities to avoid taxes over the same period. In exchange for a $1.04 million fine and its promise to cooperate with American tax authorities, Arvest Privatbank will avoid facing a criminal case.

Arrangements like these, where a bank can avoid criminal liability by agreeing to the payment of a fine and promising to assist the government in future investigations against the bank’s former and current customers, are becoming more and more common. Given the damage a criminal indictment can do to a banking license, some banks prefer to pay the fine and turn over customer information.

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