NEW YORK – U.S. authorities charged three Swiss bankers on Tuesday with helping wealthy Americans hide more than $1.2 billion in secret accounts abroad, the latest set of indictments in a crackdown on tax evasion.
The bankers, who all live and work in Switzerland, allegedly conspired with U.S. taxpayers and others to hide the existence of Swiss bank accounts held by the taxpayers from U.S. authorities, according to federal prosecutors in Manhattan.
Prosecutors didn't name the Swiss bank they worked for and lawyers for the bankers couldn't immediately be located for comment Tuesday.
The trio allegedly opened and serviced dozens of undeclared accounts in 2008 and in 2009 in an effort to capture business lost by UBS AG and another Swiss bank after news broke that the U.S. was investigating UBS over undeclared accounts, prosecutors said.
UBS and the other bank have since stopped servicing undeclared Swiss accounts.
In 2009, UBS admitted to conspiring to defraud the U.S. government of billions of dollars in taxes by helping wealthy Americans hide taxes.
As part of an agreement to avoid criminal charges, the Swiss bank turned over the names of 4,000 U.S. account holders and paid a $780 million fine.
In court documents, prosecutors alleged the three bankers charged on Tuesday opened accounts in the name of offshore sham corporations and foundations in order to avoid detection, prosecutors said.
The bankers also sometimes communicated with U.S. taxpayers using their personal email accounts in order to avoid detection.