Does Credit Suisse plea mark the end of Swiss bank accounts?

The big talk of the nation's capitol today, at least from a business perspective, is the guilty plea that Credit Suisse has entered into to resolve U.S. criminal charges. Switzerland's second-largest bank entered the plea yesterday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.

The charge by prosecutors was that the company conspired for decades to help American clients evade taxes. As a result of the guilty plea, Credit Suisse will pay $2.6 billion in fines to the U.S. and New York state governments. The deal, however, allows the bank to continue operating in the U.S. and no officials are poised to lose their jobs at this point.

While the plea and penalty mark the end of an apparent array of tax controversies, some analysts have started to speculate on what the case may mean for the future. 

One pundit, writing for Bloomberg suggests that Credit Suisse's legal difficulties won't quiet critics who accuse the administration of being too soft on law-breaking banks. At the same time, the writer says it could be another nail in the coffin of Swiss bank accounts being used as tax shelters.

As evidence, she cites the 2009 deal in which Switzerland's UBS settled a similar legal fight by paying $780 million in fines and revealing secret accounts held by Americans. Also noted is the 2013 guilty plea by Wegelin & Co., which eventually led to the oldest Swiss bank closing and the pending closure of another Swiss bank.

There is no indication that Credit Suisse could be headed for that kind of fate. Company leaders say they see no signs that business has been negatively affected. Indeed, the bank's shares reportedly closed up slightly today.

Despite the outcome of this one case, these kinds of issues are likely to continue to be a source of difficulties for many U.S. taxpayers for awhile to come. To meet the challenge, those in such circumstances need to be working with skilled legal professionals.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, "The End of the Swiss Bank Account as We Know It," Sheelah Kolhatkar, May 20, 2014
Source: Reuters, "Credit Suisse guilty plea has little immediate impact as shares rise," Katharina Bart, Karen Freifeld and Aruna Viswanatha, May 20, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • ABA | American Bar Association
  • AV Preeminent | Peer Rated for Highest level of Professional Excellence | 2018
  • Virginia State Bar | 1938
  • Super lawyer | 2018
  • DC Bar
  • American Bar Academy of Attorney - CPAs | The power of the dual view
Email Our Team

Contact Us to Get Started Today

Located in the Washington, D.C area, we serve clients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia, as well as across the country and overseas. For a free initial consultation, call 202-381-1261 or complete our brief online form.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Six Convenient Office Locations in and around the DC Metropolitan Area

Washington, D.C.
1629 K Street NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20006

Phone: 202-618-1873
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Columbia Office
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Suite 300
Columbia, MD 21044

Phone: 410-497-5947
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Annapolis Office
888 Bestgate Road
Suite 400
Annapolis, MD 21401

Phone: 410-497-5947
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Fairfax Office
8280 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
Suite 600
Fairfax, VA 22031

Phone: 703-621-7169
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Rockville Office
199 E. Montgomery Avenue
Suite 100
Rockville, MD 20850

Phone: 240-599-5009
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions

Baltimore Office
400 East Pratt Street
8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 443-743-3381
Fax: 888-235-8405
Map & Directions