Former Credit Suisse banker pleads guilty in offshore tax case

The former banker has pleaded guilty in aiding U.S. citizens hide their assets in Switzerland, evading U.S. taxes.

On Wednesday, a former banker from the Credit Suisse Group AG pleaded guilty to participating in a wide-ranging scheme that was designed to help numerous Americans evade U.S. taxes by hiding millions of dollars in offshore accounts.

Susanne Rüegg Meier, a former Credit Suisse manager has pleaded guilty in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, for conspiring to defraud the United States through her work heading of a team of bankers, said the U.S. Justice Department in a statement.

Her plea comes in the wake of a Swiss citizen, indicted in 2011 in one of many cases of tax evasion, which resulted in a broad crackdown by the US authorities on offshore tax evasions by its citizens.

That probe had led the charge sheeting of several bankers, including Credit Suisse. In 2014 the bank pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid and assist taxpayers in filing false returns as part of a $2.6 billion settlement.

Following the latest ruling, Rüegg Meier is now staring at a prison term of up to five years. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept 8.

Rüegg Meier’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.

According to prosecutors, from 2002 through 2011, being the head of Credit Suisse’s North American desk in Switzerland, Rüegg Meier had participated in a conspiracy to help U.S. taxpayers hide their assets in secret Swiss bank accounts.

Meier oversaw the servicing of over 1,000 to 1,500 client relationship accounts, apart from being personally responsible for 140 to 150 client accounts, the majority of them being U.S. citizens. Assets under her direct management was nearly $400 million, said prosecutors.

In 2008, when Credit Suisse began closing U.S. customer accounts, Rüegg Meier was instrumental in helping her clients keep their assets concealed, and in some cases even helped them open new accounts at other Swiss banks, said prosecutors.

Rüegg Meier has admitted that the tax loss resulting from her criminal conduct was in the range of $3.5 million to $9.5 million, said the Justice Department.

The case is U.S. v. Adami, et al, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, No. 11-cr-95.

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