According to numerous sources, the Swiss units of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are among more than 100 Swiss banks and financial institutions, participating in the Department of Justice amnesty program, which provides non-prosecution agreements to the banks in exchange for the disclosure of American accounts and payment of penalties.
As we previously posted in our blog, under the Program for Swiss Banks, those banks that have a reason to believe that they have committed tax or related offenses under U.S. laws (and considered Category 2 banks), may seek a Non-Prosecution Agreement in exchange for certain disclosures of specific data related to U.S. account holders. Category 2 banks submitted a letter of intent to the Tax Division of the Department of Justice by December 31, 2013. It is believed that dozens of Swiss banks participated in the program as Category 2 banks. Those banks which were under criminal investigation were considered as Category 1 banks and could not participate in the program. The program was closed to 14 institutions already under criminal investigation, including Credit Suisse Group AG, the Swiss unit of HSBC Holdings, Julius Baer Group Ltd., and Zuercher Kantonalbank.
Category 2 banks will have to pay penalties between 20% and 50% of untaxed balances and provide some account data to the U.S. government, including information about Americans that had closed their Swiss accounts and moved funds to other offshore jurisdictions. Category 2 banks seeking non-prosecution agreements must disclose the total number of U.S. accounts since 2008, their highest dollar value, and the employees who managed them. The banks also must use independent examiners to certify findings.
Banks that will participate in the program include: Valian Holding, AG, Cie. Lombard, Hyposwiss Private Bank, Migros Bank AG, Odier SCA, BSI Group, Union Bancaire Privee, Edmond de Rothschild Group, Post Finance and a number of regional banks (Kantonbanks).
If you have questions about Swiss or other offshore accounts that haven’t been disclosed, you may schedule a consultation with one of our Former IRS Attorneys at (310) 550-6200.