Swiss bank Credit Suisse has taken out advertisements in British Sunday newspapers to underline a zero-tolerance policy on tax evasion. This follows a police raid on three of its European offices last Friday
Zurich-based bank Credit Suisse is currently at the centre of a major Dutch-led investigation into suspected tax evasion, also involving Britain, Germany, France and Australia. Last Friday coordinated searches were carried out on its London, Paris and Amsterdam offices.
On Sunday, the Swiss bank published adverts in the Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and Observer aimed at limiting the damage, stating they were a "response to recent reports about tax probes in various European countries".
Credit Suisse said it "wishes to conduct business with clients that have paid their taxes" and the bank would "continue to work closely with the local authorities in all matters and particularly in this new case".
Following Friday’s raids, the bank announced it was conducting an internal investigation over whether staff breached compliance rules.
"Surprised by timing"
Iqbal Khan, Credit Suisse Group AG’s head of international wealth management, told reporters on Saturday that he was surprised by the timing of a tax evasion investigation.
Khan said in a telephone interview: “We’ve taken a proactive stance and zero tolerance when it comes to tax evasion in Europe.”
Khan said that to his knowledge, the probes target individuals outside the bank. No assets held at Credit Suisse were confiscated, he said. If it turns out that individuals inside the bank violated policies, there would be disciplinary action, though that’s too early to say.
Investigators in the Netherlands arrested two people - seizing a gold bar, paintings and jewellery - and are probing dozens more suspected of concealing millions of euros in Swiss accounts, authorities said on Friday. Criminal investigations are also underway in Australia, Germany, Britain and France and the roles of bank employees are part of the inquiries.
The probes represent a challenge for Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam as he reshapes Credit Suisse to focus on wealth management and weighs options to increase capital depleted by fines for past misbehaviour. In 2014, Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-biggest bank, pleaded guilty and was fined $2.6 billion by US authorities over charges it helped wealthy Americans evade taxes. It has also settled tax dodging cases in Italy and Germany.