1/3 of Swiss banks have now reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to avoid criminal prosecutions and have paid c.a. $308m to the US authorities (details of penalties on our page : penalty-statistics).
At this point Le Temps has interviewed a number of lawyers representing the various banks to understand we know so far in the developments of the US Tax Program.
The first observation is that the discussions between the Swiss banks and the DoJ take place in a constructive and pragmatic atmosphere.
The second observation is that so far only small regional institutions – apart from BSI – have concluded an agreement with the DoJ. Those banks have never made wealth management their core business. Therefore, it is difficult to draw any broad conclusions at this stage of the program.
Another observation that is worth highlighting is that nobody knows today, apart from the DoJ, how the fines are calculated, even the institutions who have reached an agreement do not know the details.
Another point that is raised is that officially the institutions are pleased to have been able to turn the page or be in the process of doing so. Unofficially, it is rumored that some already regret having participated in the program. The main reason is the legal costs of the operations and lengthy process which are often greater than the amount of the fine.
As for those who chose not to participate, it still seems too early to say whether they made the right choice.