Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Julius Baer Reserves $350 Million for U.S. Tax Investigation (6/24/15)

Julius Baer, one of the approximately 14 Swiss Category 1 banks (those under criminal investigation and thus ineligible for Category 2) has created financial reserves for cost of resolving U.S. criminal investigation.  See Julius Baer's media release here.  Key excerpts:
Today, Julius Baer has announced its decision to take a preliminary provision of USD 350 million for its eventual settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding its legacy U.S. cross-border business.\\ 
Zurich, 23 June 2015 – The decision to take a preliminary provision at this time is the result of Julius Baer’s recent discussions with the DOJ regarding its eventual, comprehensive and final settlement of the DOJ’s investigation of Julius Baer’s legacy U.S. cross-border business. These settlement discussions have now sufficiently advanced to enable Julius Baer to make a preliminary assessment of a probable and approximate amount required to reach a settlement with the DOJ.  
* * * *  
Noting that estimates are by their nature based on judgment, currently available information and a variety of other factors, the amount of the provision reflects Julius Baer’s existing understanding and the present state of the preliminary discussions with the DOJ regarding the amount of an eventual settlement and may be subject to change. Whilst there is no defined timetable for a final settlement, Julius Baer continues to work towards closing this regrettable legacy issue as soon as possible.
In a news report, the following points were made (Katharina Bart,  UPDATE 1-Julius Baer to take $350 mln charge as end to U.S. tax probe nears (Reuters 6/23/15), here.)

  • "The provision is far less than what most analysts had expected, with some estimates as high as 850 million Swiss francs ($909 million)."  
  • "Asked whether Julius Baer would plead guilty to criminal charges like larger rival Credit Suisse did last May, a spokesman for the bank said U.S. officials had not requested it to do so."

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