Senate probe accuses Swiss bank of helping rich Americans evade taxes

By Jim Puzzanghera, LATimes.com

A Senate subcommittee investigation accused Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse of using elaborate “cloak and dagger” methods to hide the accounts of 22,000 wealthy American citizens with a total of up to $12 billion in assets from U.S. authorities so they could avoid paying taxes.

The bipartisan probe also sharply criticized the Justice Department for being lax in using subpoenas and other legal tools to pressure the bank to reveal most of the names of account holders, which have been withheld as part of a long Swiss tradition of bank secrecy.

“The key to piercing the cocoon of bank secrecy and collecting the taxes owed by tax evaders is getting the names on those accounts,” said Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

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