WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Two Swiss banks have agreed to disclose the details of US citizens hiding nearly $150 million in assets to evade taxes, the US Justice Department said in a press release on Thursday.
"According to the terms of the non-prosecution agreements signed today, each bank agrees to cooperate in any related criminal or civil proceedings, demonstrate its implementation of controls to stop misconduct involving undeclared US accounts and pay penalties in return for the [Justice ]Department’s agreement not to prosecute these banks for tax-related criminal offenses," the release stated.
Bank Zweiplus and Banca Stato both reached the agreement with US authorities under its Swiss Bank Program, which seeks to ensure cooperation between Swiss banks and US financial and legal authorities in uncovering assets of US citizens and companies for tax purposes.
Under the penalty provisions of the Swiss Bank Program, banks seeking a non-prosecution agreement must agree to a penalty in an amount equal to 20 percent of the maximum aggregate dollar value of all non-disclosed US accounts that were held by the bank on August 1, 2008.
The penalty amount increases to 30 percent for secret accounts that were opened after that date, but before the end of February 2009, and rises to 50 percent for secret accounts opened later than that date.
US accountholders must pay a 50 percent penalty for tax evasion.