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Swiss Bank Wegelin Charged With Helping U.S. Tax Evasion

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Wegelin & Co., the 270-year-old private bank, became the first Swiss lender to face criminal charges in a broadening U.S. crackdown on offshore firms suspected of helping Americans evade taxes.

Wegelin helped Americans hide more than $1.2 billion in assets and evade U.S. taxes, according to an indictment filed yesterday in federal court in New York. The new charges expand on earlier ones filed Jan. 3 against three bankers at Wegelin’s Zurich branch accused of conspiring to help U.S. clients cheat on their taxes.