How Credit Suisse Helped Thousands Of Americans Avoid Paying Taxes

Tyler Durden's picture

Just when the latest wave of litigation against banks seemed to be calming down with one after another fraudclosure-related settlement (which have cost JPM alone some $30 billion in the past four years), here comes the Senate Permanent Subcommittee chaired by Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin, and blows up the peace of Zurich's nighttime air with a bombshell of a 175-page report which put Switzerland's second largest bank, Credit Suisse, front and center in a brand news tax evasion scandal... not that there is anything inherently wrong with that: the last thing the US government needs is to be enabled to be even bigger, plus any money the Treasury needs, the Fed will simply print on its behalf. However, it is considered illegal, at least in polite company. And so among the accusations listed in the report, seen by FT, is that "Credit Suisse made false claims in US visa applications, conducted business with clients in secret elevators and shredded documents to help more than 22,000 American customers avoid US taxes, according to a scathing report by a US congressional committee.

It continues: "Credit Suisse handed account statements to one client tucked inside a Sports Illustrated magazine as part of their “cloak and dagger tactics”, according to Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations which drafted the report. The bank also helped clients create offshore shell entities to avoid taxes and aided them in structuring transactions so they fell below the $10,000 amount that would alert the government, according to the report, released on Tuesday." In other words all in a day's business for any self-respecting tax avoider. Which according to the report would be some 22,000 self-respecting tax avoiders.

Credit Suisse created an office at Zurich airport where more than 10,000 US accounts were held, known by the code name SIO85. Bankers made 150 trips to the US from 2002 to 2008 to aid in the tax evasion efforts. At its peak, the assets of the more than 22,000 customers totaled as much as $12bn.

That tax avoidance was (note: past tense - the days of Swiss bank secrecy are now long gone) one of the Swiss banking industry's largest sources of incomes and jobs is not a surprise, however the magnitude of just the Credit Suisse involvement is quite stuning: In total, about 1,800 bankers were involved in helping clients avoid taxes, leading Senator John McCain, the top Republican on the subcommittee, to call the practices "systematic." And since John McCain can't really be bothered with much more than playing online poker these days, one wonders: just who stands to benefit from the complete unraveling of the Swiss banking sector, which without its secrecy shroud provides absolutely nothing of attraction: certainly 0% deposit rates can be found everywhere these days.

Amusingly, one entity that has fallen under the magnifying glass is the US department of justice, best known in recent years of having replaced its name to department of injustice, for arming Mexican drug gangs, for aiding and abetting the IRS with hunt of conservative groups, and for not prosecuting those it deems Too Big To Prosecute.

Mr McCain also criticised the US justice department for not holding high-level individuals accountable, adding that this seemed to be the common practice of the agency.


Mr Levin, a Democrat, accused the justice department of failing to “pierce the cocoon of bank secrecy” and not using all available legal tools to aggressively pursue the case. He said the DoJ obtained the names of only 238 clients out of more than 22,000.


“The battle against tax havens using secrecy laws to facilitate US tax evasion has bogged down, causing a huge loss to our Treasury,” Mr Levin said. “The Credit Suisse case study shows how a Swiss bank aided and abetted US tax evasion, not only from behind a veil of secrecy in Switzerland, but also on US soil by sending Swiss bankers here to open hidden accounts.”

So just how big will the next latest and greatest wristslap be? And just how intense will the tongue lashing be of Credit Suisse's current batch of executives? Find out tomorrow at 9:30 am when the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations holds a hearing title "Offshore Tax Evasion: The Effort to Collect Unpaid Taxes on Billions in Hidden Offshore Accounts" and where everyone who is anyone at Credit Suisse will be present:

    Chief Executive Officer
    Credit Suisse Group AG, Credit Suisse AG
    New York, NY

    General Counsel
    Credit Suisse Group AG, Credit Suisse AG
    Zürich, Switzerland

    Co Head, Private Banking and Wealth Management, Chief Executive Officer - Region Switzerland
    Credit Suisse Group AG, Credit Suisse AG
    Zürich, Switzerland

    Co Head, Private Banking and Wealth Management, Chief Executive Officer - Region Americas
    Credit Suisse Group AG, Credit Suisse AG
    New York, NY

Of course, as everyone in finance has long since known, the real center of offshore bank account money laundering moved away from the Alpine nation some 5 years ago and is now located in Singapore. One can't wait to see just how eager the US will be to pick on someone more its own size - say China - when it is done with this latest particular witch hunt, which incidentally global regulations helped enable and which tax authorities closed their eyes on for decades, or at least until the music was playing. It would appear the time to pay the piper has finally come.

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The Gooch's picture

Taxation is THEFT.

knukles's picture

Conducted business in Secret Elevators?
What, pray tell, is a Secret Elevator?
Must be like printing a bazillion excess fiats.
Or Virginia PAC cash contributions?

Secret Elevators.
Definitely Conspiracy Theory Stuff Proved Fact.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"What, pray tell, is a Secret Elevator?"

I could tell you. But then I'd have to kill tax you too.

krispkritter's picture

How much are nail guns in Swiss Francs?  How much to send one to McCain? And frankly, when can we start hanging IRS agents?

Urban Redneck's picture

Go to your local home despot or lowes, and look at the price of a Bosch nail gun (which are basically made right up the road from me) THEN MULTIPLY THE PRICE BY THREE (and swap CHF for USD at 1:1)...

NoDebt's picture

Can I petition the Tylers to give me strike-through text added to my permissions on this site?  I could have a lot of fun with that capability.

And it's not like they can't afford it with the GIGANTIC FREAKING AD BOX that now takes up residence between the story and the comments section of every article.  I mean that thing has gotten FREAKING HUGE.


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Can I petition the Tylers to give me strike-through text added to my permissions on this site?"

Everyone should have it. However, everyone may not know how to use it. :)

NoDebt's picture

Yeah, yeah.  It's a little button in the toolbar above the comment box.  I am using it right now.  When I type it, it shows strike-through but when it appears in the thread, back to regular text.  Just as it did again here.  I have rich text enabled, too.

That's the limit of my technological expertise.  Is there some trick I'm missing?

The Gooch's picture

If you can't find the trick in the room, you're the trick.

With the nail gun.

0z's picture

These Bankers did their Job!
That's Aweful! 

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Is there some trick I'm missing?"

Yes. Type the entire word or words you wish to strike thru first. Then highlight that word with your mouse, then click the strike-thru button.

Presto. :)

<It took me a god awful amount of time to figure it out so don't feel too bad.>

Urban Redneck's picture

Or if you have a secured browser, just do it the old fashioned way and learn to type with proper html tags instead of sarc tags...

(which is a real PAIN THE ASS for someone who can't even type - like myself, but I guess I could always add keystroke macros...)

StychoKiller's picture

Let's see if Cog is full of sh!t knows what he's talking about... (Guess it don't work!)

NoDebt's picture

Yeah.  It's not what you know, it's who you get in the secret elevator with.

Pure Evil's picture

Hopefully you don't stumble into the White House secret elevator that leads to the Obama-Regie love shack where they take advantage of one's undisclosed location.

Anusocracy's picture

I thought the secret elevators were those things in Kim Jong-un's shoes.

Restcase's picture

They are spacious, they are comfortable, they can seat 8-12, boast a small coat closet, a fax machine, a water fountain, and they travel very slowly because of the extra weight. They are the Secret Elevators!

Urban Redneck's picture

If they are spacious (or comfortable), they are NOT Swiss elevators.

Freddie's picture

The two things that stood out is the secret elevators.  I would love to see those. 


The other is two on the biggest evil scumbags involved in the witchhunt are Carl Levin and John McCain.   I am not back Credit Suisse just that Levin and McCain are scum. 

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  Taxation is THEFT.

Well...   if we assume that life is about the smart-n-savvy people screwing the dumbasses, then eventually the smart-n-savvy people will have all the loot, right?

So, the dumbasses get together and hire other sociopaths (sometimes called politicians) to screw the people who have been screwing them.   The usual way this is done is by taxing the sociopaths.  

So, unless we tax the sociopaths, the sociopath's kids will inherit the earth and have access to all the females with the biggest teeth and hair.   See how this works? 

It's for the children.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

According to a scathing report by a US congressional committee, it has been learned that saltwater is as wet as freshwater.

Also, during the course of the investigation, Senators Secret Squirrel (R-Griftizona) and Morocco Mole (D-Felchigan) discovered that some yacht club members submitted the payment of their slip fees inside of Department of Agriculture pamphlets and farmers' bulletins. While the motive for this is unknown, it has been determined that the significance is severe.

Urban Redneck's picture

Did Carl "Shitty Deal" Levin really say they only have 238 names of CS customers?

If perjury before Congress is a crime, why isn't perjury by Congress a crime? Whatever happened to Equal Protection Under the Law (since the 14th Amendment was enacted later than Art 1 Sec 6 Clause 1, and Bolling v. Sharpe extended the 14th to federal government)?

It must be that either WE are not persons, or CONGRESS-CRITTERS are not persons.

The latter would be nice, because they are some things that I would like to do to Carl that wouldn't really be appropriate to do to anyone entitled to human rights.

Overfed's picture

Every American should take it upon himself to everything possible to avoid taxation.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

Tax avoidance is one of the few remaining American traditions.

LetThemEatRand's picture

The problem with the "taxation is THEFT" meme is that the oligarchs do not pay directly for the infrastructure such as the MIC and a myriad of other things that allow them to remain oligarchs.  And if we end all taxation of everyone as the solution, we end up with private courts and private police to enforce things like contracts, and the same private forces in this power vacuum will be left to enforce rules against bribery of themselves.   Perhaps individuals could be left to police themselves in small towns, but somehow I don't see it working in large urban centers or on a global scale especially.

Sean7k's picture

Which is why you must eliminate law.

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Well,  that's kinda been done already for the top 10%.  

The law is for the dumbasses who think like children.

LetThemEatRand's picture

It's also been done throughout most of human history for the rulers.  What we see today is a glimpse of what it was like in ancient times where the vast majority of people were ruled brutally by force.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


What we see today is a glimpse of what it was like in ancient times where the vast majority of people were ruled brutally by force.

Well, yeah, but the law gives it a veneer of legitimacy.

The Gooch's picture

We already have private fucking police.

LetThemEatRand's picture

We have both public and private.  Take away all taxation, and you are left with solely private which you seem to agree is a problem in practice.

The Gooch's picture

By private, I meant "public".

As in publicly funded, perpetually growing and "protecting and serving" the state instead of the people.

There are exceptions but they are becoming the minority.

There is also that accountability for their actions thing.

The one which is rubber stamped in publicly funded, kangaroo courts.

"administrative leave" for murder.

File on time, serfs.



Kreditanstalt's picture

"...a myriad of other things that allow them to remain oligarchs..."

This is part of the big myth of the "evil rich", "the 1%", the "banksters", etc. class struggle-stuff.

The oligarchs remain rich not because of "other things", taxes, infrastructure or whatever but because of the monetary system and protection from GOVERNMENT.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Throughout most of human history we had rulers who imposed a monetary system.  Elected government is a fairly new development.  What is to stop the same oligarchs who infect our society now, from ruling by force without elected government in the future if we do away with elected government?   

Anusocracy's picture

Because government rules by the consent of the dumb asses.

Some of them actually post on ZH.

A Nanny Moose's picture

More of the same moral relativism that got us here in the first place. Taxation is Theft! PERIOD. If it wasn't theft, why would it need to be backed up by all those guns?

What you are saying is that ending taxation, will merely result in exactly what we have now. That is to say...private courts, private police, private military, etc.

Without taxation, the "oligarchs" may not pay, but they sure as shit DON'T FUCKING PAY NOW! Neither do their corporations. The TAX LIVESTOCK FUCKING PAY, GODDAMIT! That means you, me, and everybody else on ZH. So what exactly is the difference?

Next strawman please.

Anusocracy's picture

You keep pounding that bullshit that everything will go to hell without government. Let me explain reality to you: everything goes to hell with government, not without government. Government isn't needed, which is why it it can't allow a free society to exist.

Try reading this:

By (Timothy Lee Miller) (California State University, Fullerton) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Law for the Elephant: Property and Social Behavior on the Overland Trail (Paperback)
The Overland Trail that spread to the gold fields of California and Oregon was a trying ordeal; it tested the will and endurance of the American character. The experience of the trail not only shaped America geographically, but socially, politically, and economically as well. The trail also shaped another American institution: law. Law and the Overland Trail is a topic that deserves greater study to determine charaterisitcs of the overland trail and the development of law in America. Law during antebellum America focused on capital speculation and corporate structure, and a bed of safe property law allowed corporate proliferation to occur. Reid examines inherent social and legal developments of the Overland Trail with great detail by examining a plethora of sources. He examines diaries, papers and other records for inferences to legal conduct. Reid explores the use of property law on the Overland Trail. He concludes that property law was something that was inherent to Americans in general, and not something forced upon them by corporate America (p. 335). The trail is unique in American legal history, because it shows how Americans administered law in a lawless land. Reid starts the book with general assumptions about the trail, emigrants and jurisprudence. He notes that the emigrant is a typical American: man women, child, old Young, ethnic, educated and uneducated. This mass of humanity seeking a new existence, in a place presented as a paradise, was not a lawless immoral group as legend, and some scholarship dictates. In assuming so, Reid states that, "Easily overlooked is the possibility that law could be the common denominator, explaining both the definitions people shared and the conduct they followed" (p. 10). Reid examines a common thread: property rights. The remainder of the book examines the interrelationships, uses, and behaviors associated with property and property rights. He notes that the creation, operation, and dissolution of joint stock ventures operated with a high degree of jurisprudence. An interesting aspect explored is the concept of ownership. Except for natural resources such as water, property was an abstract concept. Emigrants abandoned property as the hardships of the trial demanded, to avoid liabilities associated with traveling weight. Emigrants obtained supplies by barter, or by acquiring discarded property (p. 293). Reid notes that the transfer and handling of property, whether by and individual, or partnership was peaceful, and rarely was violence employed as a means of resolution (p. 341-54). Reid concludes by stating, "Instead, they respected the rights of property owners much as if still back east in the midst of plenty. By respect for their neighbor, and their neighbors property, they were, more than not, adhering to a morality of law" (p. 364). Law for the Elephant is an excellent macro interpretation of property, legal, and social relations of California gold rush emigrants. Another advantage the work provides us is an understanding of why current views of property came to be. The research is well covered, and the readability of the book is excellent. The book not only provides generalizations about law and the Overland Trail, but gives insight into how emigrants acted at the micro level as well.

The.Harmless.Who's picture





I had the oppertunity to protect my capital from gangs and scummy theiving zionists (as well as the AIPAC and "Friends of Israel" mob) I would.  


More power to anyone who protects their assets from the above.  


The trouble is, a lot of those hiding money are members of gangs (government) and zionist garbage.  





Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Fuck the u.s.g.o.v.!
Go Credit Suisse!

LetThemEatRand's picture

Credit Suisse is a player in the Federal Reserve and part of the Rothschild cartel.  So go Rothschild?

xamax's picture

Dont share that
ALL Swiss banks have black money, payoff time now

unrulian's picture

There's only one place to keep your money:

just remember where you bury it

krispkritter's picture

I commented on this earlier saying that this person could have been an original ZH'er.  I wonder if they're going to do a historical study on the property ownership to see what happened to who might have hidden these.  I do think the finders should have kept this under wraps though.

Tall Tom's picture

"...not that there is anything inherently wrong with [Tax Avoidance]: the last thing the US government needs is to be enabled to be even bigger, plus any money the Treasury needs, the Fed will simply print on its behalf."


I cannot agree more. Credit Suisse did something right by serving the interests of their clients.

JustObserving's picture

At its peak, the assets of the more than 22,000 customers totaled as much as $12bn.

US debt and unfunded liabilities rise at $7.9 trillion a year now.  That is $21.6 billion a day.  Seen in that light, $12 billion is peanuts.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It's the principal of the thing dude. Can't have ordinary (rich) US citizens avoiding taxation. That's the exclusive realm of US corporations.

If you let just one (tax) slave get away without even a spirited chase, let alone a hanging, before you know it other (tax) slaves might get all uppity and stop paying working altogether. Can't have that now.

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


It's the principal of the thing dude. Can't have ordinary (rich) US citizens avoiding taxation. That's the exclusive realm of US corporations.

Hey ... hey! Hold on there, mister. Not all US corporations avoid taxes. I mean, look at General Electric. They're taxed at a rate of negative 45.3 percent, which amounts to quite a bit of money by anyone's standards. Nevertheless, they make no effort whatsoever to avoid these taxes. GE is a model corporate citizen. It is both the principle of the thing and, indeed perhaps more importantly, dude, the principal of the thing.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

You are a real Prince a pill yourself. :)

<I suck at spelling if you didn't already notice.>