German prosecutor cooperating with Dutch tax evasion probe

Posted April 01, 2017

A tax evasion tip-off has led Dutch prosecutors to carry out raids in five countries, including the UK.

A spokeswoman for Dutch prosecutors said millions of euros worth of paintings, gold bars, cash and other assets had been seized from 3,800 Dutch-linked accounts.

In cooperation with authorities in a number of countries, raids were done in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Great Britain and France on Thursday.

The Dutch tax administration said authorities detained two suspects and seized a gold bar, luxury cars, dozens of paintings, property, jewellery and bank accounts as well as data from thousands of account holders.

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British tax authorities also said on Friday they had opened a criminal investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering by "a global financial institution" and would be focusing initially on "senior employees", along with an unspecified number of customers.

While Credit Suisse said it was cooperating with the authorities, the investigations threatened an global row, with the Swiss public prosecutor expressing "astonishment" at the actions taken by Dutch authorities. Check back soon for further information.

"We have launched an investigation against clients of a bank", a spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Credit Suisse issued a short statement confirming only that the bank's offices in the three European cities had been "contacted by local authorities concerning client tax matters" on Thursday.

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In Europe, Credit Suisse agreed in October to pay about 109.5 million euros ($117 million) to Italian authorities to resolve a probe into the bank's use of insurance policies allegedly created to help clients evade taxes, five years after paying 150 million euros to settle a tax evasion dispute with the German government.

None of the authorities disclosed the name of the bank involved.

HMRC told Sky News: "Yesterday HMRC, working with our worldwide partners, launched a criminal investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering by a global financial institution and certain of its employees".

Prosecutors "analysed a huge amount of data", Eurojust said, looking for "individuals and groups suspected of tax fraud and money laundering". The bank said it has "implemented Dutch and French voluntary tax disclosure programs and exited non-compliant clients", and has applied a withholding tax agreement with the United Kingdom since 2013. Officials have refused to identify which bank is being investigated as part. Those Australians identified held numbered accounts with a Swiss bank.

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