The US Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it reached an agreement with Privatbank Von Graffenried AG under the US Tax Program. The bank was a Category 2 bank.
The DoJ confirms the ‘Von Graffenried opened and maintained undeclared accounts for U.S. taxpayers when it knew or should have known that, by doing so, it was helping these U.S. taxpayers violate their legal duties. Von Graffenried offered a variety of traditional Swiss banking services that it knew could assist, and that did assist, US clients in the concealment of assets and income from the IRS. For example, Von Graffenried would hold all mail correspondence, including periodic statements and written communications for client review, thereby keeping documents reflecting the existence of the accounts outside the United States. Von Graffenried also offered numbered account services, replacing the account holder’s identity with a number on bank statements and other documentation that was sent to the client.
Moreover in late 2008 and early 2009, the senior management of Von Graffenried approved account openings for two European nationals residing in the US who had been forced to leave UBS and Credit Suisse, respectively. It started to exit US-related accounts in 2010 but did not complete the exit process until late 2012.
Since August, 2008, Von Graffenried held a total of 58 US-related accounts with approximately $459m in assets. We also learn that out of those 58 accounts 5 were held by a dual national -Swiss & US- who dropped his US citizenship by 2012, and amounted to USD 426m.Von Graffenried will pay a penalty of $287,000 and sign an Non-Prosecution Agreement (NPA). According to the terms of the NPA, Von Graffenried 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 department’s agreement not to prosecute Von Graffenried for tax-related criminal offenses.