1. Credit Suisse Related Indictments,
In a superseding indictment, the following were charged with one count of conspiracy:
Markus WalderThe original indictment named only Adami, Agustoni, Bergantino and Schaerer. (I discussed the original indictment in a prior blog, More enablers indicted (2/23/11).) The superseding indictment is 47 pages long. According to my prior blog, the International Bank identified in the original indictment was Credit Suisse. Presumably that is the case with the superseding indictment as well.
Marco Parenti Adami
Susanne D. Ruegg Meier
Andreas Bachman (aka Andrew Bachman and aka Andy Bachman)
The DOJ Tax Division Press Release is here. The pertinent portions of the press release are:
SWISS INTERNATIONAL BANK'S FORMER HEAD OF NORTH AMERICA2. UBS Related Indictment.
OFFSHORE BANKING, OTHERS CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY
Superseding Indictment Alleges Defendants Helped U.S.
Taxpayers Hide Assets in Secret Accounts
THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2011
WASHINGTON -- Markus Walder, former head of North America Offshore Banking at an international bank headquartered in Zurich; Susanne D. Rüegg Meier, a former manager with the international bank; Andreas Bachmann, a former banker at a subsidiary of the international bank; and Josef Dörig, the founder of a Swiss trust company, have been charged with conspiring with other Swiss bankers to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced today. The four are charged in a superseding indictment together with four other defendants (Marco Parenti Adami, Emanuel Agustino, Michele Bergantino and Roger Schaerer) who were charged in an indictment returned on Feb. 23, 2011.
According to the superseding indictment, the international bank's managers and bankers engaged in illegal cross-border banking that was designed to assist U.S. customers evade their income taxes by opening and maintaining secret bank accounts at the bank and other Swiss banks. As of the fall of 2008, the international bank maintained thousands of secret accounts for U.S. customers with as much as $3 billion in total assets under management in those accounts. The conspiracy dates back to 1953 and involved two generations of U.S. tax evaders including U.S. customers who inherited secret accounts at the international bank.
Moreover, according to the superseding indictment, the conspirators utilized a representative office in New York City to provide unlicensed and unregistered banking services to U.S. customers with undeclared accounts. Walder, Schaerer, their co-conspirators and others allegedly made false statements and provided misleading information to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and to the IRS in order to conceal the international bank's U.S. cross-border banking business and the role of the New York representative office in that business.
The superseding indictment alleges that Walder supervised the U.S. cross-border banking business, including the New York representative office headed by Schaerer, a Geneva-based team of bankers led by manager Marco Parenti Adami and a Zurich-based team of bankers led by manager Rüegg Meier. Rüegg Meier was a member of senior management at the international bank and also served as a private banker, providing unlicensed and unregistered banking services to U.S. customers with undeclared accounts at the bank. The superseding indictment further alleges that Bachmann was a private banker for a wholly-owned subsidiary of the international bank who traveled to the United States to assist U.S. taxpayers in evading their U.S. taxes through the use of secret bank accounts. It is further alleged that Dörig, founder of a Swiss trust company, was a preferred provider of the international bank who assisted U.S. customers in forming and maintaining nominee tax haven entities and opening secret accounts at the international bank and its subsidiaries in the names of the entities.
According to the superseding indictment, the defendants and their co-conspirators solicited U.S. customers to open secret accounts because Swiss bank secrecy would permit them to conceal from the IRS their ownership of accounts at the international bank and other Swiss banks. It is further alleged that they provided unlicensed and unregistered banking services and investment advice to customers in the United States in person while on travel to the United States, including at the international bank's representative office in New York City and by mailings, email and telephone calls to and from the United States. It is further alleged that the international bank's employees destroyed statements and other account records that were sent via email or facsimile to the representative office in New York so that records regarding the undeclared accounts would not be maintained in the United States.
The superseding indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators caused U.S. customers to travel outside the United States to conduct banking related to their secret accounts; opened secret accounts in the names of nominee tax haven entities for U.S. customers; accepted IRS forms that falsely stated under penalties of perjury that the owners of the secret accounts were not subject to U.S. taxation; advised and caused United States customers to structure withdrawals from their secret accounts in amounts less than $10,000 in an attempt to conceal the secret accounts and the transactions from American authorities; mailed bank checks in amounts less than $10,000 to customers in the United States; and advised U.S. customers to utilize offshore charge, credit and debit cards linked to their secret accounts and provided the customers with such cards, including cards issued by American Express, Visa and Maestro.
According to the superseding indictment, after the bank decided to close the secret accounts maintained by U.S. customers, the defendants encouraged and assisted U.S. customers to transfer their secret accounts to other foreign banks as a means of continuing to hide their assets from the IRS and discouraged the customers from disclosing their secret accounts to the IRS through the IRS's Voluntary Disclosure Program.
In another enabler indictment, Beda Singenberger was indicted for one count of conspiracy. Singenberger is alleged to be a resident of Switzerland and a CPA who owned or controlled Sinco Treuhand AG through which he assisted a number of U.S. depositors in establishing and maintaining accounts to avoid U.S. tax. He established accounts and entities with apparent abandon, with the knowledge of the banks involved. The banks involved are alleged as follows:
UBSAfter I have had a chance to analyze this indictment, I will supplement or create a new blog.
Swiss-Liechtenstein Bank No.1
Swiss Bank No.1
Swiss Bank No.2
Swiss Cantonal Bank No.1
There is a press release, but I am currently unable to find the link. Here is the pertinent portion:
SWISS FINANCIAL ADVISOR INDICTED FOR CONSPIRING
WITH MORE THAN 60 U.S. TAXPAYERS TO HIDE MORE
THAN $184 MILLION IN SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS
Defendant Also Assisted U.S. Taxpayers in Moving Assets
from UBS to Other Swiss Banks to Avoid U.S. Law Enforcement
THURSDAY, JULY 21, 2011
NEW YORK -- Beda Singenberger, a Swiss financial advisor, was indicted today for conspiring with various U.S. taxpayers and others to hide more than $184 million offshore at various Swiss banks, announced Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; and Charles R. Pine, Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service -- Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). Singenberger had more than 60 U.S. taxpayer clients and opened dozens of hidden accounts on their behalf, using sham entities to further conceal the Swiss-based accounts from the IRS. Further, in 2008, when it became public that UBS AG was the target of an IRS investigation, Singenberger assisted his U.S. taxpayer clients in moving their offshore accounts to other Swiss banks to evade the IRS's investigation.
According to the indictment filed today in Manhattan federal court, from 1998 through 2009, Singenberger, who operated a wealth management and tax advisory business called "Sinco Treuhand AG," conspired with various U.S. taxpayers and others to ensure that his U.S. taxpayer clients could hide their Swiss bank accounts, and the income generated in them, from the IRS.
In furtherance of this conspiracy, in 2001, when the Swiss banks at which Singenberger helped his U.S. taxpayer clients hide accounts voluntarily agreed with the IRS to obtain documents concerning the identity of the beneficial owners of accounts at those banks, and to withhold and pay over to the IRS taxes on transactions in those accounts, Singenberger created sham entities under the laws of countries other than the United States to hide from the IRS the Swiss accounts and the income generated in them.
For example, Singenberger used sham "foundations" and "establishments" formed under the laws of Liechtenstein and sham corporations formed under the laws of Hong Kong, among other jurisdictions, to conceal from the IRS the ownership by U.S. taxpayers of accounts established at various Swiss banks and the income generated in those accounts.
Similarly, Singenberger prepared, and provided to the various Swiss banks, IRS forms that falsely and fraudulently stated under penalties of perjury that the real owners of the undeclared accounts maintained at various Swiss banks were not U.S. persons. At the same time that Singenberger was submitting IRS forms (or their equivalent) to banks falsely indicating that the sham entity was the real owner of the Swiss bank account, he was also submitting a form required under Swiss law, called a "Form A," that truthfully stated that a U.S. taxpayer was the actual owner of the account. In truth and in fact, however, Singenberger knew that the real owner of the undeclared accounts was a U.S. person, a fact that was reflected on documents contained within the files of various Swiss banks.
In 2008, when it became public that UBS, one of the Swiss banks at which Singenberger helped his U.S. taxpayer clients hide their accounts, was under investigation by law enforcement in the United States, and was therefore in danger of having to identify U.S. taxpayers who had accounts at that bank, Singenberger helped his U.S. taxpayer clients to move their accounts from UBS to other Swiss banks. Each of these other Swiss banks engaged in conduct substantially similar to UBS, but unlike UBS, did not have a physical presence or office in the United States.
The collective maximum value of the assets in undeclared accounts beneficially owned by U.S. taxpayer clients of Singenberger, and that were either opened with Singenberger's assistance or were managed by him, was more than approximately $184 million.
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Singenberger, 57, resides in Zurich.