21 May, 2014, 12:00 am
US regulators have filed criminal charges against Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse for “wilfully aiding in the preparation of false income tax returns”.
The bank is expected to enter a guilty plea and pay a multi-billion dollar fine for helping its US clients engage in tax evasion.
It would be the first parent company of a major bank to plead guilty to criminal charges in at least a decade. A press conference will begin shortly.
Credit Suisse has been looking to settle the charges with US regulators since 2011.
A few weeks ago, Credit Suisse chairman Urs Rohner told shareholders in a letter that settling the charges was one of the “most pressing issues” facing the bank.
He wrote: “We do not dispute that some foreign clients — including US clients — used Swiss banking confidentiality in order to deposit undeclared assets in Switzerland.
“To the extent that errors were made by the bank, it has to assume responsibility.”
However, Mr Rohner added that the US accounts in question accounted for less than 1 per cent of the bank’s total revenue.
According to US media reports, neither Mr Rohner nor chief executive Brady Dougan are expected to lose their jobs as a result of the agreement.
In February, a US Senate committee investigation alleged that Credit Suisse opened Swiss accounts for more than 22,000 US customers.