World Economy

Another Swiss Banker Indicted

Another Swiss Banker IndictedAnother Swiss Banker Indicted

Another high level Swiss banker has been charged with conspiring to evade US taxes. The latest indictment is of Martin Dunki, formerly Senior VP at Swiss private bank Rahn & Bodmer. He lives in Switzerland and has not been arrested, but has been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS. It carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

This comes on the heels of the trial in Florida of Raoul Weil, a former top UBS banker who was acquitted of tax evasion. He was the highest-ranking Swiss banker prosecuted in the US crackdown, but the jury quickly acquitted him. Now Dunki could face trial too. The feds allege that his was instrumental in helping Americans evade taxes between 1995 and 2012, Forbes reported Friday.

The alleged techniques included accounts in the names of sham foundations in Liechtenstein. When that became too hot, the feds say sham foundations in Panama were used. Then, when bank accounts were too visible, the feds claim Dunki helped clients buy gold and keep it in a Swiss vault for American clients. Cash too.

  Sham Corporations

Then there were sham Liberian corporations, the charges claim. For one American alone, the indictment charges, Dunki helped hide $300 million in Liberian entities. For another, the feds claim bank statements were altered to slice off bank names and account numbers to avoid detection by US customs.

The US claims that Dunki ferried cash to clients in the US. Another claimed avenue was money sent to New York diamond dealers, where US clients could later pick up stones. More direct and hands-on involvement is claimed in this case than with the recently acquitted Weil.

Yet several former UBS bankers testified that Weil was deeply involved in hiding $20 billion from the IRS. Martin Liechti, the former UBS head of banking in the Americas, testified that Weil knew thousands of accounts didn’t comply with US tax law. Some former clients testified too.

Dunki might hope not to wait as long as Weil did. Weill was indicted in 2008, finally arrested in Italy in 2013, and tried in 2014. The IRS has indicted and prosecuted other foreign bankers and advisers, sending a chill through advisers everywhere. Many names and addresses are being added to the mountains of information collected from voluntary disclosures, whistleblowers and FATCA.