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Press Release

Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally of the Justice Department’s Tax Division Announced Her Departure from the Department Today, Effective as of June 5, 2014

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division, will leave her post at the Department of Justice effective June 5, 2014, she announced today.


“Over the past two years, Kathryn Keneally has provided exemplary leadership to the Justice Department's Tax Division, setting a standard of excellence, integrity and professionalism that will guide and challenge those who carry the division’s important work into the future,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “As a result of her determined efforts, her exceptional judgment, and the tireless work of her colleagues across the division -- and their partners nationwide -- the Tax Division has secured historic gains in our fight to protect the American people from tax fraud and financial misconduct and to hold accountable any individual, bank or other institution that violates our tax laws.  Although I wish her the best as she seeks new challenges and opportunities, I will miss her wise counsel and her tireless commitment to the mission we share.  I thank her for her service to the American people.”


“I have been very fortunate to work every day with the talented and extraordinary women and men of the Tax Division, who are dedicated to ensuring that our nation’s tax laws are enforced fairly and consistently,” said Assistant Attorney General Keneally.  “I have benefited from the strong relationship between the division and the Internal Revenue Service, which shares our commitment to tax enforcement and voluntary tax compliance.  I am grateful for the leadership and support of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General.  I will always be grateful to the President for giving me this opportunity to serve.”


During Keneally’s tenure as Assistant Attorney General, the division has obtained significant results in all areas of tax enforcement.


Under Keneally’s leadership, the division broadened its enforcement against the use of foreign bank accounts to evade U.S. taxes.  In August 2013, as a result of Keneally’s efforts, the department announced a unique program to allow Swiss banks to cooperate and to resolve past wrongdoing.  Through this program, which has the support of the government of Switzerland, over 100 banks that were not previously under investigation have come forward to provide valuable law enforcement information.  In January 2013, Wegelin, the oldest bank in Switzerland, pleaded guilty to felony tax charges.  In May 2014, the department announced a guilty plea by Credit Suisse, the second-largest bank in Switzerland.  The plea included the highest ever payment in a criminal tax case.  Keneally worked directly with the bank’s regulators to facilitate simultaneous enforcement action against Credit Suisse.  The division’s enforcement efforts have expanded to include investigations and charges against banks, bankers, professional advisors and accountholders for using secret bank accounts in countries around the globe.


During Keneally’s tenure, the division has also focused on forcefully combating stolen identity refund fraud.  In September 2012, the division announced new procedures to respond to this increasing criminal threat, and to strengthen coordination among the division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and federal and local law enforcement.  Prosecutions led by division attorneys have resulted in significant convictions and lengthy sentences, and have helped turn the tide in this law enforcement challenge. 


The division has also continued to enjoy favorable outcomes in over 95 percent of all civil and criminal cases litigated by the division.  These efforts have included a robust injunction program to stop fraudulent return preparers and scheme promoters, continued successful litigation against abusive tax shelters, civil and criminal actions to enforce employment tax laws and core mission litigation to enforce tax law, collect taxes and prosecute those who would cheat on their obligations.  Under Keneally’s leadership, the division has undertaken a more comprehensive approach to civil and criminal tax enforcement.


Keneally was sworn in as the Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division on April 6, 2012.  Before joining the department, she practiced law in New York City, representing individuals and businesses before the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice in criminal and civil tax cases.  She also appeared and tried cases in the federal district and appellate courts, and in the U.S. Tax Court.  Keneally also served as the chair of the ABA Section of Taxation's Committees on Civil and Criminal Tax Penalties and Standards of Tax Practice, and was a vice chair of the Section of Taxation.  She will be returning to her home in New York.

Updated September 15, 2014

Press Release Number: 14-563