Swiss Enabler to Plead Guilty in Credit Suisse Tax Case

The founder of a Swiss trust company that federal prosecutors say worked with Credit Suisse Group AG to help American clients evade taxes is expected to plead guilty today in Virginia, according to court records.

Josef Dorig will appear in federal court in Alexandria, where he was arrested yesterday and released on $150,000 bail, records show. Dorig was indicted in 2011 with seven Credit Suisse bankers on a charge of conspiring to help the bank’s U.S. clients hide $4 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.

Dorig’s guilty plea would follow that of former Credit Suisse banker Andreas Bachmann, who admitted on March 12 that he helped American clients evade taxes. Bachmann is cooperating with prosecutors amid a U.S. probe of Credit Suisse, the largest of 14 Swiss banks under U.S. criminal investigation in a crackdown on offshore tax evasion.

Bachmann admitted his guilt after a report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said Credit Suisse helped 22,000 Americans hide as much as $10 billion from the IRS. Chief Executive Officer Brady Dougan apologized to the panel at a Feb. 26 hearing, saying a small group of Swiss-based bankers appear to have broken U.S. law and fooled top managers.

He said bankers worked with outside intermediaries to help U.S. clients set up offshore shell entities with money deposited at Credit Suisse in the names of the entities rather than the clients. Such conduct, Dougan said, was egregious.

Reserves Increased

Credit Suisse said April 3 that it increased reserves to 720 million francs ($815 million) to resolve the U.S. case. The bank also agreed Feb. 21 to pay $197 million to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for providing cross-border securities services to thousands of Americans without registering to conduct the business.

In pleading guilty, Bachmann admitted he conspired with Dorig, who worked at a Credit Suisse subsidiary to help U.S. customers open secret accounts and set up nominee accounts in tax havens.

Credit Suisse said in 1997 it was “too risky” for Dorig to form such entities within the bank. Instead, the bank “announced that the formation and management of nominee tax havens should be done from outside,” Bachmann admitted.

Dorig then formed a Swiss trust company in Zurich, according to the indictment.

An attorney for Dorig, Robert Henoch, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment yesterday. Before yesterday, Dorig hadn’t appeared in Alexandria to respond to the indictment.

The case is U.S. v. Walder, 11-cr-00095, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).

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