Oldest Swiss Bank Calling It Quits After US Fine

Wegelin will pay $57.8M in fines

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 4, 2013 3:45 AM CST

(Newser) – After more than two centuries in business, a Swiss bank is closing down following fines for helping American tax dodgers. Wegelin, the country's oldest bank, pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges and will pay $57.8 million in fines. After that, the bank founded in 1741 says it "will cease to operate as a bank." Executives admitted they had helped more than 100 Americans avoid taxation on $1.2 billion; it's the first foreign bank to plead guilty to such charges, the BBC notes.

Wegelin "willfully and aggressively jumped in to fill a void that was left when other Swiss banks abandoned the practice due to pressure from US law enforcement," says a US attorney, calling it a "watershed moment" in the fight against tax evasion. Executives had initially skipped court following an indictment in February, prompting the bank to be declared a fugitive from justice. Charges remain against three of the company's bankers.

In this Jan. 27, 2012 file photo, the headquarters of the bank Wegelin und Co, is photographed in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
In this Jan. 27, 2012 file photo, the headquarters of the bank Wegelin und Co, is photographed in St. Gallen, Switzerland.   (AP Photo/Keysttone/Ennio Leanza,File)
« Prev« Prev | Next »Next » Slideshow
My TakeCLICK BELOW TO VOTE
6%
9%
16%
58%
2%
9%
To report an error on this story, notify our editors.

NEWS FROM OUR PARTNERS
Other Sites We Like:   The Street   |   24/7 Wall St.   |   BuzzFeed   |   Cracked   |   World History Project   |   POPSUGAR Tech   |   Business Insider   |   HuffPost Entertainment