Tuesday, January 10, 2012

U.S. authorities 'to take legal action against Wegelin & Co' which could see Switzerland's oldest bank charged over tax evasion investigation

U.S. authorities are close to taking legal action against one of Switzerland's oldest banks Wegelin & Co, which could see it charged with allowing wealthy Americans to evade taxes, it was claimed today.

In moves which have strained U.S.-Swiss relations, dozens of U.S. clients and at least two dozen Swiss bankers have been charged following a crackdown on offshore tax evasion through Swiss banks.

But now there could be an indictment against Switzerland's oldest bank on similar grounds, although Wegelin is thought to be seeking a less damaging deferred prosecution agreement.

The outcome depends on how prosecutors, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Treasury Department agree to treat the matter, the sources said.

An indictment of it would be a blow to a national tradition of banking secrecy that dates back to the Middle Ages. Read More