Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Two Swiss Bankers Come to U.S. to Face Charges Filed in 2012 (11/30/16)

I previously reported on the indictment of three Swiss Bankers Stephan Fellman, Otto Huppi and Christof Reist -- in 2012.  See More Swiss Bank Enablers Indicted (Federal Tax Crimes 12/18/12), here.  Until this week, I had heard nothing further and my spreadsheet showed all three as fugitives.  This week two of them -- Fellman and Reist -- entered not guilty pleas in USDC SDNY.  Nate Raymond, Two Swiss bankers plead not guilty to U.S. offshore tax scheme (Reuters 11/28/16), here.

All three of the indicted defendants were associated with Zürcher Kantonalbank ("ZKB"), one of the Swiss banks not eligible for the U.S. DOJ Swiss Bank Program because under criminal investigation when the Program was announced.  So far as I am aware, ZKB remains under criminal investigation.

According to the Reuters article, "Prosecutors in court said they were in talks with the defendants about resolving the case."  I suspect that the outline of an ultimate plea has already been reached with sufficient certainty that Fellman and Reist felt it in their interests to come to the U.S. voluntarily to resolve the matter.  In all likelihood, a plea agreement will be reached and the resolution likely is part of or will contribute to the ultimate resolution of ZKB's criminal investigation.

The original indictment is here.  I had reviewed the indictment in my 2012 blog.  I have not reviewed it again because I am awaiting the plea agreement.  Unfortunately, in this regard, I understand that the SDNY practice is not to file the plea agreement which, in my mind, is odd because it is flouted in open court when the plea is given and even shown to the judge.

There is no indication of any resolution for the third indicted defendant, Otto Hueppi.  Hueppi's bio page indicating employment with Swiss American Advisors AG is here, although there is no indication that it is current.

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