A number of Credit Suisse’s staff and clients are being investigated for tax evasion across a number of countries, the Swiss bank has admitted.
The company said that its offices in London, Paris and Amsterdam were searched by local authorities yesterday after they contacted the bank ‘concerning client tax matters’.
Credit Suisse said in a statement that ‘we are co-operating with the authorities’, pointing out that it has applied the Withholding Tax Agreement between the UK and Switzerland since 2013, along with similar arrangements with France and the Netherlands.
The Dutch police, who did not name the bank, said they made two arrests and seized a range of goods yesterday, including paintings, jewellery and a gold bar.
HMRC said: ‘The international reach of this investigation sends a clear message that there is no hiding place for those seeking to evade tax.’
'Credit Suisse has had this coming for years and cannot pretend it is unexpected or undeserved,' said Milestone International Tax managing partner Miles Dean.
'Swiss bankers actively promoted Switzerland as a safe-haven for illicit money and conned people into thinking their secret would be safe because bank secrecy was part of the Swiss constitution. That was until the Swiss came to blows with the Americas for marketing their wares in the US and actively helping US nationals evade US taxes.
'Any notion that Swiss banks are better at banking than other banks in other countries is simply untrue, they just don’t play by the rules.'
Credit Suisse has previously been hit hard in tax probes. The bank was fined $2.6 billion in the US in 2014 after pleading guilty to helping American citizens evade tax and it was also fined €150 million in Germany in a similar case back in 2011.