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Switzerland’s oldest bank admits helping rich Americans hide over $1bn (£738m) from US tax authorities


Switzerland’s oldest bank has admitted it helped wealthy Americans hide more than $1bn (£738m) from US tax authorities.

Wegelin pleaded guilty to criminal charges at the US District Court in Manhattan – several months after being labelled a ”fugitive” for missing a previous hearing. 

Prosecutors said the bank had wooed clients fleeing UBS and other Swiss banks after they came under investigation in 2008 and in 2009. The indictment alleged that Wegelin decided it "could charge high fees to its new US taxpayer-clients because the clients were afraid of criminal prosecution" in the US.

Authorities claim more than $1.2bn was hidden by Wegelin from tax authorities.

"From 2002 to 2010, Wegelin conspired with certain US taxpayers to evade US taxes," Otto Bruderer, Wegelin's managing partner, confirmed. The 272-year-old bank will now pay fines and penalties amounting to almost $70m.