Skip to main content

The United States still suspects certain elements of the Swiss financial center of helping tax evaders. © Keystone / Ti-press / Alessandro Crinari

Six people and a Swiss financial services company have been accused in the United States of helping clients evade tax on $ 60 million (CHF 56 million) in assets.

This content was published on September 29, 2021 – 12:51

They are accused of having set up an elaborate ploy, known as the “Singapore Solution”, to funnel money out of Switzerland, through structures in Hong Kong and Singapore, and back into accounts. Swiss banks.

Three U.S. clients used the scheme between 2009 and 2014 to hide tens of millions of dollars from U.S. tax authorities, according to a Department of Justice (DoJ) indictment.External link which was unsealed on Tuesday.

The indictment alleges the funds started in undeclared accounts at the Swiss private bank IHAG before being routed to Asia and back to the same bank. However, IHAG has not been charged with wrongdoing by the DoJ.

Instead, charges were laid against six financial services professionals and Zurich-based Allied Finance Trust, which went into liquidation in March, according to the Swiss Trade Register.

Three of those charged had ties to the private bank IHAG. One of them resigned from his managerial position at the holding company that owns the IHAG bank on Wednesday. A senior bank executive also resigned on September 20 of this year. A third indicted person is a former employee who left IHAG in 2001.

But IHAG told SWI that the bank itself was “in no way involved in this procedure”. Bank points out that it had previously cooperated with the Swiss banking program of the DoJ, paying more than $ 7 million in penaltiesExternal link in 2015.

The Swiss banks program, negotiated by the Swiss government in 2013, has seen dozens of Swiss banks expose their practices and pay fines to avoid prosecution in the United States.

But the last case shows that the DoJ still has the Swiss financial center in its sights.

Switzerland also continues to be criticized by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Transparency International for failing to crack down on lawyers and other financial professionals suspected of helping people evade taxes.