We originally posted Tuesday, January 28, 2014 "Offshore Swiss Bank Account? This May Be Your Last Chance To File A Voluntary Disclosure!," where we discussed that The United States Justice Department has received 106 requests from Swiss entities to participate in a settlement program aimed at ending a long-running probe of tax-dodging by Americans using Swiss bank accounts according to a senior US official.
The Swiss units of Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. and Morgan Stanley are among 106 banks seeking U.S. non-prosecution agreements after saying they had reason to believe they helped Americans violate tax laws, according to three people familiar with the banks’ actions. They have agreed with U.S. authorities to hand over potentially incriminating details about how they might have helped Americans evade taxes, according to people familiar with the situation.
Both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley applied to a Justice Department program that requires banks to disclose how they helped Americans hide assets, hand over data on undeclared accounts and pay penalties, according to the people who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
To gain non-prosecution deals, banks must pay 20 percent of the value of accounts not disclosed to the Internal Revenue Service on Aug. 1, 2008, 30 percent for such accounts opened between then and February 2009 and 50 percent for accounts opened afterward. Banks submitted letters of intent by Dec. 31.
Banks seeking non-prosecution agreements must disclose the total number of U.S. accounts since 2008, their highest dollar value, and the employees who managed them. The banks also must use independent examiners to certify findings.
At least 33 banks announced that they will join the program in Category 2, including Cie. Lombard, Odier SCA, Geneva’s oldest bank, and BSI Group, the Swiss private bank owned by Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali SpA.
Banks that said they will participate include:
- Union Bancaire Privee,
- the Geneva-based bank founded by Edgar de Picciotto in 1969; Edmond de Rothschild Group, owned by Baron Benjamin de Rothschild; and
- EFG International AG, controlled by Greek billionaire Spiro Latsis and his family.
- Another 15 banks, mainly regional lenders, declared they will opt for Category 3 or 4.
Category 3 banks seek Justice Department letters saying they’re not a target of a criminal probe. In return, an independent examiner must confirm the bank broke no laws.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported about the banks’ participation in the U.S. program.
The Justice Department has said that 106 Swiss banks, or more than one-third of the country's total, already have committed to category 2. Attorneys and other experts say many banks have opted for category 2 as a precautionary move, because discovering all client ties to the U.S. can be difficult. The same logic was used by the Swiss operations of Goldman and Morgan Stanley, people familiar with the matter say.
- Goldman's Swiss private bank had about $12 billion in assets under supervision as of the end of last year, according to a person familiar with the matter.
- Morgan Stanley's Swiss private bank had $50.7 billion in assets under management as of last year, though the bulk of that stemmed from branches in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Citigroup Inc. and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. also have Swiss operations. Citibank Switzerland AG has compiled data in line with the Justice Department program's requirements but hasn't entered into category 2, according to a person familiar with the matter.
their American clients, even including some of their names
by April 30, 2014!
We have spoken to numerous clients, who have been advised, that their Swiss banks are in the process of turning their account information over to the IRS, pursuant to this US settlement program.
Value Your Freedom?
Read more at: Tax Times blog