Market Commentary and Intraday News
German Credit Suisse customers investigated
315 days ago
By DAVID RISING
(AP:BERLIN) Some 5,000 German customers of Swiss bank Credit Suisse are the target of a new investigation into possible cross-border tax evasion, a bank official said Wednesday.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give details of the case, said clients' homes in Germany have been searched by tax authorities over the past few weeks in a case that involves billions of euros.
Wuppertal tax authorities, who are leading the investigation, would not comment, referring all inquiries to the North-Rhine Westphalia Finance Ministry. The ministry spokeswoman did not immediately return calls.
Switzerland has been attempting to shed its image as a haven for tax evaders, and has been working closely with Germany. Among other things, Germany and Switzerland in May signed a tough new bilateral agreement in an attempt to end a long-running dispute over German tax evaders who keep their money in Swiss bank accounts, though that doesn't come into effect until next year.
Last year, Credit Suisse came to an agreement with Germany itself, paying (EURO)150 million ($184.28 million) to German tax authorities over allegations the bank helped Germans dodge taxes.
Credit Suisse is not under investigation in the current case, which is focused on clients of the bank who live in Germany, the official said.
At issue are Bermuda-based life insurance products, which were tax free in Switzerland.
Credit Suisse said in a statement that all German investors were notified "very clearly," and in writing, that they needed to clarify their own tax situations when investing in the products.
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