Heads up, mafiosos and unscrupulous millionaires: Credit Suisse AG intends to give you up to the tax man. Of course, you probably already knew that, because the bank sent notification letters to various US clients suspected of tax evasion last week warning them that it would soon hand over their names and account details to the IRS, Reuters reports. The letter instructs them to either approve the disclosure, or hire a lawyer to fight it.
The bank says the Swiss Federal Tax Administration ordered the move at the behest of the IRS. But one tax lawyer says the letter may actually be a sign that the bank is close to a settlement with US authorities, which would typically lead to a deferred-prosecution or non-prosecution of the people receiving the letters. Still, he added that the move was a “further erosion of longstanding Swiss bank secrecy.” UBS struck a similar deal two years ago, handing over 4,450 clients. (Read more Credit Suisse stories.)