Three Swiss bankers charged with conspiring to help U.S. clients hide more than $1.2 billion from American tax authorities worked at Switzerland’s Wegelin & Co., according to a person familiar with the matter.
Michael Berlinka, Urs Frei and Roger Keller told clients that they were less vulnerable to a U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion because the bank didn’t have offices outside Switzerland, according to an indictment in federal court in Manhattan.
The bank was Wegelin, according to the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak about the matter. The indictment refers to the bank as Swiss Bank A.
No one answered calls after business hours at Wegelin, based in St. Gallen, Switzerland’s oldest private bank. Thomas Tschudi of the bank didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail.
Prosecutors have filed tax charges against more than three dozen former U.S. clients of UBS AG and Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland’s two biggest banks, and London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe’s biggest. At least 24 bankers, advisers and attorneys also have been charged.
The case is U.S. v. Berlinka, 12-cr-02, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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