Credit Suisse has done what no other huge bank has done in over two decades: plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing.
In a sign that global banking giants are no longer immune from criminal charges — despite public concerns that financial institutions have grown so large and interconnected that they are “too big to jail” — federal prosecutors demanded that Credit Suisse’s parent company plead guilty to helping thousands of American account holders hide their wealth and evade taxes.
In the Federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., a Credit Suisse lawyer, Alan Reifenberg, accepted the plea agreement in a 45 minute hearing before Judge Rebecca B. Smith.
As part of a deal with the Justice Department, the Swiss bank agreed to plead to one count of conspiring to aid tax evasion. Credit Suisse, which has a giant investment bank in New York and whose chief executive is an American, will also pay about $2.6 billion in penalties and hire an independent monitor for up to two years.
“This case shows that no financial institution, no matter its size or global reach, is above the law,” said Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.. “Credit Suisse conspired to help U.S. citizens hide assets in offshore accounts in order to evade paying taxes. When a bank engages in misconduct this brazen, it should expect that the Justice Department will pursue criminal prosecution to the fullest extent possible, as has happened here.”
The severe rebuke from federal prosecutors — as well as from the Federal Reserve and New York State’s banking regulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky, who agreed to punish the bank without shutting it down — stems in part from Credit Suisse’s failure to fully cooperate with the United States government.
The resulting plea deal will strike a blow at overseas tax dodging and the shadowy world of Swiss bank secrecy, which had become a hallmark of the country’s financial system and the scorn of American policy makers. The deal also signals a shift in prosecutors’ policy, representing the first time since Drexel Burnham Lambert pleaded guilty in 1989 that a giant bank has entered a guilty plea in the United States.By
The New York Times, "Credit Suisse Pleads Guilty in Tax Evasion Case."
We had to go all the way to Switzerland to finally nail a bank on a guilty charge? Jesus H. fucking Christ.(via inothernews)