American authorities are investigating the operations in Israel of the Zurich-based banking group Credit Suisse, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
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The U.S. Justice Department recently notified the bank of the probe, which is focusing on investigating whether Credit Suisse employees in Israel helped customers with dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship evade American taxes by concealing their ties to the United States, the Journal said. "The investigation follows a $2.6 billion settlement and guilty plea that the Swiss bank entered in the United States in connection of other allegations that the bank helped American clients to evade taxes," the newspaper stated.
"After Credit Suisse was notified of the Justice Department’s new probe focused on the Israel office, the bank began its own internal investigation," the Journal reported, attributing the information to people familiar with the matter. "Without mentioning Israel, a Credit Suisse spokeswoman said the bank is conducting an internal employee-conduct investigation 'related to tax matters,'” the Journal stated, adding that a U.S, Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
The Bloomberg news service quoted a bank statement as saying that "the investigation is not linked to potentially fraudulent behavior to the detriment of clients" and that "Credit Suisse is committed to running its business in a tax-compliant manner."
In an unrelated case, in 2014, Bank Leumi, Israel's second-largest bank, agreed to pay a $400 million penalty to the U.S. and New York State tax authorities to settle two separate investigations into whether it helped American clients, largely in its Swiss unit, evade taxes.