The central mission of the Tax Division is to enforce our nation’s tax laws fairly and consistently. This is a responsibility that we owe to every honest taxpayer who pays his or her fair share.
As part of this mission, we are committed to using all enforcement tools against those who seek to avoid their legal obligations, and their responsibilities to their fellow citizens and taxpayers, by hiding their assets in foreign bank accounts. We are also committed to investigating and holding responsible financial institutions, bankers, and other professionals who facilitate this conduct.
Credit Suisse has now acknowledged that it acted in both the United States and Switzerland to aid and abet the use of secret Swiss bank accounts for the evasion of U.S. taxes. As set out in the statement of facts, Credit Suisse assisted its clients in using sham entities, soliciting IRS forms that falsely stated that those sham entities were the beneficial owners of assets in accounts with the bank, and facilitating access to the funds in those accounts in a manner designed to keep the accounts secret. It also failed to preserve documents that would have aided in our investigation. The plea agreement that has been announced today imposes serious consequences on Credit Suisse for this conduct.
We appreciate that Credit Suisse has taken this significant step to accept the consequences of these acts. We also recognize that Credit Suisse has ceased this conduct, and has changed its business operations to ensure that U.S. taxpayers will no longer be able to hide their assets at Credit Suisse. Also, through the information that Credit Suisse has agreed to provide, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice will be able to make treaty requests to Switzerland for account records. For those account holders who closed their accounts knowing that our investigations were focusing on Credit Suisse, we are obtaining information that is enabling us to follow the funds to other Swiss banks or to banks in other tax haven and bank secrecy countries. By its plea today, Credit Suisse has addressed its past conduct, and is in a position to move beyond these criminal activities.
We also appreciate that Switzerland has taken important steps to ensure that its banking community will no longer be a haven for U.S. tax evasion. Switzerland’s ratification, in September 2009, of the Protocol amending U.S.–Swiss tax treaty, and its inter-govermental agreement with the United States concerning FATCA implementation, were significant steps toward this goal. We are also grateful for the support of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, FINMA, and the Swiss government for the Swiss Bank Program that the Department announced in August 2013. Through this program, Swiss banks are cooperating to provide valuable information that will further our global investigations, and those Swiss banks in turn have a path to resolution for past activities.
I also take this opportunity to thank the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General for the support and assistance that the Tax Division received throughout this investigation and in all our our enforcement activities, to recognize and thank United States Attorney Dana Boente for the excellent work by his office in the Eastern District of Virginia, to recognize and thank the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and the IRS Criminal Investigation Division for the important work of the IRS in this law enforcement priority, and to recognize and thank all of the prosecutors and investigative agents who have done excellent work throughout this investigation, and in particular to recognize Mark Lytle, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Mark Daly, Senior Litigation Counsel, and Nanette Davis, Assistant Chief, with the Tax Division, and IRS Special Agent James O’Leary.
I would like now to turn to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for additional comments.