Four more Credit Suisse bankers charged in tax case

WASHINGTON: Federal prosecutors have charged four more bankers with Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group with conspiracy in what they say was a long-running scheme to help U.S. taxpayers hide as much as $4 billion in assets.

Prosecutors originally charged four people in the scheme in February, so the charges announced Thursday bring the total number of people charged up to eight. Charging documents filed in the case do not specify what bank the group worked for, but The Associated Press previously reported its identity.

Prosecutors wrote in February that as of late 2008 Credit Suisse was maintaining thousands of secret accounts for U.S. customers with approximately $3 billion in assets, but that amount was increased to $4 billion in a document filed Thursday. Prosecutors previously alleged that the conspiracy goes back as far as 1953.

The four individuals charged Thursday were: Markus Walder, who was the head of North American Offshore Banking; Susanne D. Ruegg Meier, a member of the bank's senior management; Andreas Bachmann and Josef Dorig, both of whom worked for a Credit Suisse subsidiary. Court documents did not include Dorig's nationality, but all three others charged are Swiss.

Credit Suisse itself is not charged in the case, but prosecutors wrote that bank officials "knew and should have known that they were aiding and abetting U.S. customers in evading their U.S. income taxes."

"Credit Suisse is committed to a fully compliant cross-border business. Subject to our Swiss legal obligations and throughout this process we will continue to cooperate with the U.S. authorities in an effort to resolve these matters," the bank said in an emailed statement.

The four individuals previously charged in the case were Italian citizen Marco Parenti Adami and Swiss citizens Emanuel Agustoni, Michele Bergantino and Roger Schaerer. Schaerer has dual citizenship with the United States.

Revised court documents released Thursday discuss how the group is alleged to have worked with 35 clients including people in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida and Virginia to conceal assets and income in secret accounts. The original court papers noted 17 customers, none of them by name. - AP

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