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Swiss banks face lower fines than feared in US tax case

Published on Jul 26, 2014 11:29 PM
In May, Zurich-based Credit Suisse became the largest bank in decades to plead guilty to a US criminal charge and agreed to pay more than US$2.5 billion in penalties. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH (REUTERS) - About 80 of the 106 Swiss banks that signed up for a deal with US tax authorities could be fined less than they had feared for their role in helping wealthy Americans cheat on their taxes, but must widen their cooperation, a Swiss newspaper reported.

The banks, which include Geneva-based Lombard Odier and Zurich firm EFG International, came forward under a programme brokered by the Swiss and US governments, after criminal investigations of roughly a dozen Swiss banks including Credit Suisse in the United States.

So-called second category banks will escape prosecution if they detail their wrong-doing with US clients and pay fines under the programme agreed last year.

But they must cooperate more fully with US prosecutors before reaching non-prosecution agreements, Finanz und Wirtschaft reported on Saturday, citing unnamed legal sources.

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