Americans who’ve evaded millions of dollars in taxes but have since agreed to disclose offshore accounts to get out of prosecution are testifying against the banker who helped them hide their assets, Bloomberg writes.
Prosecutors in the case in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, say Stefan Buck, former head of private banking at Bank Frey & Co., worked with Swiss lawyer Edgar Paltzer to set up and manage accounts for American taxpayers who had to close their accounts at other banks following a $780 million tax-evasion fine on UBS Group AG in 2009, according to the news service.
The taxpayers say Buck suggested they put their money into Bank Frey, Bloomberg writes. One 67-year-old from Arizona told jurors Buck had persuaded her and her husband to move around $1 million from Credit Agricole SA, which had said it would phase out American accounts due to increased scrutiny from the U.S., according to the news service.
“We didn’t want the [Internal Revenue Service] to be notified,” Christine Warsaw said, according to Bloomberg. “It would open us up to investigation.”
Warsaw said she and her husband took advantage of the voluntary offshore fund disclosure program, paying over $1 million in taxes and interest as well as penalties, according to the news service. Marc Agnifilo, Buck’s lawyer, told the court in an opening statement that the case shifts personal responsibility onto his client from people who in some cases have been evading taxes for four decades, Bloomberg writes.
The regulators’ settlement with the UBS in 2009 led to more than 50,000 voluntary disclosures, which helped the IRS recoup billions in dollars, according to the news service.