Viktor Kordash, a New Jersey man who restores antiques, admitted to a tax charge in a U.S. probe of offshore banks that has led to the prosecution of more than 100 bankers and their clients.
Kordash, 64, pleaded guilty today in Manhattan federal court to a single count of failing to report an offshore account. At its peak, the account at Wegelin & Co. in Switzerland had a balance of $1.6 million.
“He’s trying to make this right,” Kordash’s lawyer, James Lisa, said outside court, referring to his client’s guilty plea.
Kordash faces as long as five years in prison when he’s sentenced Sept. 12. In a plea agreement, Kordash and prosecutors said federal sentencing guidelines, which aren’t binding on the judge, call for him to receive from two years to 2 1/2 years in prison. He also agreed to pay at least $268,000 in unpaid taxes plus $750,000 in penalties.
More than 100 people have been charged since 2009 in a U.S. crackdown on tax avoidance through offshore bank accounts. Wegelin, formerly Switzerland’s oldest private bank, pleaded guilty in 2013 to helping U.S. taxpayers hide more than $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service. Wegelin blamed the U.S. investigation for forcing it out of business after 272 years.
Credit Suisse Group AG’s main bank subsidiary pleaded guilty on May 19 to helping thousands of Americans evade taxes and the bank is paying a $2.6 billion penalty. The investigation is continuing against 13 other Swiss banks.
The case is U.S. v. Kordash, U.S. District Court, Southern District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).