Credit Suisse Group AG plans to transfer more data about its business with American clients to U.S. authorities to help resolve a probe into whether the bank helped customers evade taxes.
The documents will include e-mail correspondence with clients domiciled in the U.S., internal e-mails about such customers and the U.S. cross-border business in general from June 2001 until March 2011, according to a memo from private-banking chief Hans-Ulrich Meister to employees in Switzerland today. Client-specific data were removed from the records, which may contain the names of some employees, said the memo, the contents of which were confirmed by a Credit Suisse spokesman.
Credit Suisse is informing staff after the transfer of data to the U.S. earlier this year spurred criticism and lawsuits from some employees, claiming it was illegal. Credit Suisse and 10 other banks being investigated in the U.S. were granted permission by the Swiss government in April to comply with information requests from the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Employees who think they may be affected by the transfer of business records can obtain more information about them in advance, according to today’s memo.
“Credit Suisse verified the legal basis for the disclosure of these business records to the U.S. authorities and consulted the responsible Swiss authorities,” the memo said. “This provided confirmation that the transfer is permissible. We are also convinced that our cooperation with the U.S. authorities is in the best interests of bank employees because it will help to ease the situation and will pave the way for an amicable solution with the U.S.”
Credit Suisse, HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss unit and Julius Baer Group Ltd. have said they expect to pay fines to resolve the tax matter with the U.S.
The previous data transfer included documentation about internal policies, projects, correspondence and minutes of meetings, which may have contained the names of some employees at all levels of the hierarchy, Credit Suisse said. There was no transfer of personnel files or lists of employee names drawn up specifically for the purpose, the Zurich-based bank said.
“We are committed to resolving the matter as swiftly as possible and wish to assure you that we will do our utmost to safeguard the rights of employees,” Meister, who is also the head of business in Switzerland, said in the memo.