US Accuses 2 Swiss Financial Advisers of Tax Fraud

Posted March 14th, 2012 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. is accusing two Swiss financial advisers of assisting wealthy Americans to hide more than $260 million in overseas bank accounts to avoid taxation.

U.S. prosecutors on Wednesday alleged that the advisers, Hans Thomann and Josef Beck, working independently of each other, acted as “full service tax evasion advisers.” The prosecutors accused Beck of helping U.S. taxpayers hide more than $129 million, and Thomann more than $138 million.

The U.S. said that at one point a client of Beck allegedly wanted to withdraw $150,000 from his Swiss account. The prosecutors said the account holder was directed to a New York City address where a young child came out of a house and handed him the cash in a bag.

The U.S. in the last three years has embarked on a crackdown on American taxpayers with offshore accounts and the banks holding their money. So far, U.S. prosecutors have filed charges against at least 23 foreign bankers and 40 American taxpayers.

But a far bigger group of U.S. taxpayers — 30,000, according to the government — has avoided prosecution by agreeing to pay back taxes and divulge to authorities who was assisting them to hide their money offshore.