The US Justice Department late on Thursday announced it had filed criminal charges against Wegelin & Co, Switzerland’s oldest private bank, for purportedly helping wealthy US citizens evade taxes between 2002 and 2011.
It is alleged that the 271 year old bank conspired together with US taxpayers and other parties to conceal $1.2bn in secret bank accounts. An estimated $16m have been seized from the bank’s correspondent US bank accounts at UBS in Stamford in accordance with a seizure warrant and a civil forfeiture complaint, said the Justice Department.
Manhattan US attorney Preet Bharara said: “Wegelin bank aided and abetted US taxpayers who were in flagrant violation of the tax code. And they were undeterred by the crystal-clear warning they got when they learned that UBS was under investigation for identical practices.”