ZKB CEO Says Bank Expects Talks With U.S. on Tax Probe This Year

By Carolyn Bandel, Bloomberg.com

Zuercher Kantonalbank, one of about a dozen Swiss banks under investigation over whether they helped Americans evade taxes, expects to start talks with U.S. prosecutors this year to resolve the allegations.

Chief Executive Officer Martin Scholl said in an interview in Zurich today that he is waiting to hear from U.S. authorities after the Justice Department last month extracted a guilty plea and an agreement to pay $2.6 billion from Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), the first global bank in a decade to admit to criminal wrongdoing in the U.S.

The Credit Suisse deal sets a new standard for punishment in the U.S. crackdown on offshore tax evasion and frees up tax prosecutors to go after other banks on their list. ZKB is among about a dozen Swiss financial firms, including Julius Baer Group Ltd. (BAER) and Pictet & Cie. Group SCA, seeking to strike individual agreements to avoid or defer prosecution in Justice Department probes over whether they helped Americans hide money from the Internal Revenue Service.

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