Credit Suisse and the Tax Controversy

Rositsa Keranova is currently a BSc Economics student in her second year.

Credit Suisse is a leading force in the financial services. The company specializes in private banking, investment banking and asset management. It was founded in 1856 in Switzerland and currently operates in 50 different countries. Nowadays it is one of the largest and most profitable banks that has an immense influence not only in Switzerland, but all over the world. Despite that, Credit Suisse has involved itself with controversial issues such as tax evasion.


In 2014 Credit Suisse was charged for helping some of its American customers to avoid tax authority and the bank pleaded guilty to these accusations. According to the Justice Department, Credit Suisse has been engaged for decades into such illegal cross-border banking business. Reportedly the company helped thousands of its clients hide their income from the Internal Revenue System in the US. As a result, Credit Suisse had to pay a fine worth $2.6 billion. As a comparison, in 2009 UBS, another Swiss bank, had to pay $780 million fine based on the same charges. Credit Suisse also had to change some of its regulations and business practices. The US Justice Department persisted on the dismissal of three of the employees, who were already known for helping with tax evasion but were still being paid. The senior executives in the bank kept their jobs. However, the bank didn’t disclose the names of its clients. For officials, it was a huge step forward that Credit Suisse pleaded guilty because that was the first plea from a bank in decades. For the company the plea agreement meant that they could continue to operate in the US.

Last month Credit Suisse yet again got itself involved into a controversy concerning eluding tax payments. Earlier this year the Dutch government received an alarming information that there are assets hidden in offshore accounts, estimated in millions. The Netherlands has joined forces with five tax authorities for an investigation against tax evasion and money laundering. As a result, in March 2017 there were raids in homes all over the Netherlands and France. Moreover, there were two arrests and there was a huge amount of assets seized from homes such a as millions in cash, gold jewelry, real estate and paintings. Reportedly, an informant provided the Dutch authorities with the details of 55000 bank accounts, which would be investigated in the coming weeks. There is still no information about which bank is involved but Credit Suisse had made a statement that the authorities visited some of its offices in Amsterdam, London and Paris concerning tax information. However, this raised many questions about the bank’s involvement in another tax evasion. To this Credit Suisse responded with a statement that they are fully cooperating with the authorities and that they have strict rules against individuals who avoid paying taxes. In the following months we will see how the investigation will develop.

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