Swiss Bankers Indicted in Virginia by Department of Justice Tax Division for aiding tax evasion

Feb 25, 2011   

On February 23, 2011, a federal indictment was unsealed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia alleging violations of 18 U.S.C. section 371, commonly referred to as a “Klein Conspiracy.” The Defendants are Marco Parenti Adami, Emanuel Agustoni, Michelle Bergantino, and Roger Schaerer.

The indictment alleges that an international Swiss bank (unnamed in the indictment) was one of the largest wealth mangers in the world and had branches in the U.S. and over $3 Billion in total assets in undeclared accounts. The indictment also alleges that two private Swiss banks and an Israeli bank participated in the conspiracy. All defendants, either residents or citizens of Switzerland, are alleged to have conspired with each other to defraud the United States for the purposes of impeding, impairing, obstructing, and defeating the lawful government functions of the IRS in the ascertainment, computation, assessment, and collection of revenue “ specifically U.S. income taxes.

The indictment goes on to allege that the conspiracy involved soliciting U.S. customers to open undeclared Swiss bank accounts through the use of nominee tax haven entities, and that as a result of the defendants actions, U.S. customers filed false and fraudulent income tax returns with the IRS and failed to file Form TD 90.22-1 (Foreign Bank Account Report). More specifically, the indictment alleges that the defendants discouraged their U.S. customers from disclosing their unreported foreign bank accounts to the IRS through the Voluntary Disclosure program and instead encouraged their U.S. customers to transfer their funds to other banks in Switzerland and Hong Kong.

The full indictment is available here.

It appears that in the wake of the UBS deferred prosecution and the indictment, trial and conviction of Maurico Cohen Assor and his son, the Department of Justice is stepping up and continuing enforcement of tax related crimes. The attorneys at Fuerst Ittleman have extensive experience in criminal and civil tax litigation and regularly represent those being investigated for criminal tax offenses.Swiss Bankers Indicted in Virginia by Department of Justice Tax Division for aiding tax evasion