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Swiss Bank Wegelin Indicted for Hiding $1.2 Billion From IRS

Wegelin & Co., the oldest Swiss bank, was indicted Feb. 2 for conspiring with U.S. taxpayers to hide more than $1.2 billion in secret accounts from the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department announced in unsealing the grand jury indictment from a federal court in Manhattan (United States v. Wegelin,S.D.N.Y., No. 81 12 Cr. 02 (JSR), indictment 2/2/12).

Seizing more than $16 million from Wegelin's bank account in the United States under civil forfeiture laws, DOJ said Wegelin had been charged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York with participating in a conspiracy with three client advisors who have already been charged.

Although Wegelin has no banks in the U.S., it is accused of using a UBS AG account to carry out the conspiracy, which involved opening and servicing dozens of undeclared accounts for U.S. taxpayers to capture clients who were fleeing UBS after news broke that IRS was investigating that Swiss bank.

According to the indictment, Wegelin told various U.S. taxpayer-clients that their undeclared accounts would not be disclosed to U.S. authorities because the bank had a long tradition of secrecy and that the lack of offices in the United States made the company less vulnerable to U.S. authorities.

Read more at: Tax Times blog

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