Swiss Bank Pleads Guilty to U.S. Tax Law Violations

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Switzerland's oldest private bank yesterday admitted to helping Americans evade U.S. taxes, the first time a foreign financial institution has pleaded guilty to tax law violations, the New York Times DealBook blog reported today. Representatives for Wegelin & Company, a Swiss bank founded in 1741, acknowledged that for nearly a decade the firm helped dozens of wealthy American customers dodge taxes by hiding more than $1.2 billion in secret accounts. As part of guilty plea, Wegelin agreed to pay $74 million in fines, restitution and forfeiture proceeds to the U.S. government. Although Wegelin ceases to exist as a business, the firm's partners sold its non-American client accounts last January to the Raiffeisen Group, an Austrian bank, just before its indictment. Read more.