Credit Suisse ordered to pay $1.8 billion to finalize U.S. guilty plea

NORFOLK, Va. Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:57pm GMT

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NORFOLK, Va. Nov 21 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday accepted Credit Suisse's guilty plea to end a criminal case accusing it of helping wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes, and ordered the bank to pay roughly $1.8 billion in fines and restitution.

The payout includes a $1.14 billion criminal fine and a nearly $667 million payment to the Internal Revenue Service.

Credit Suisse agreed to the payout as part of a more than $2.5 billion settlement with several government authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice and New York State's financial services department.

The guilty plea was accepted by Chief Judge Rebecca Beach Smith of the federal court in Norfolk, Virginia.

Credit Suisse admitted in May it helped clients deceive U.S. tax authorities by concealing assets in undeclared bank accounts.

Smith said she wanted to see a stiff punishment and would accept the $1.14 billion fine, which is payable within one week, because it fell within recommended federal guidelines.

"Deterrence is very important here," she said.

Lawyers for Credit Suisse and for the government said little at the 25-minute hearing.

A Credit Suisse spokesman said: "We have worked closely with the U.S. Department of Justice to conclude this matter, and having it fully resolved is an important step forward for us."

The bank still faces a hearing before the U.S. Department of Labor in January to determine whether it should be allowed to manage Americans' retirement funds because of its guilty plea.

(Reporting by Gary Robertson in Norfolk, writing by Aruna Viswanatha and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Chris Reese)

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