December 16, 2010 / 1:43 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Credit Suisse employees raided in German tax probe

* Credit Suisse confirms raids on client advisers’ homes

* LGT pays 50 mln euros in fines-German prosecutor * LGT says did not accept guilt in settlement (Adds detail, background)

DUESSELDORF/ZURICH, Dec 16 (Reuters) - German prosecutors intensified a tax evasion clampdown by raiding the homes of Credit Suisse CSGN.VX employees and reaching a deal with Liechtenstein’s LGT [LGT.UL] to settle a tax probe.

A spokesman for the Duesseldorf prosecutor’s office on Thursday said four employees of Credit Suisse are being probed on suspicion of aiding tax evasion.

The homes of two employees were searched as part of the probe, the prosecutor’s office said.

In July Credit Suisse’s private banking offices in Germany were raided with the aim of gathering information on the role of bank staff in cases of alleged tax evasion. [ID:nLDE66F1HT]

Separately, LGT and its employees have paid around 50 million euros ($66.15 million) in fines to settle a damaging tax probe, said a spokesman for the public prosecutor in the German city of Bochum.

“We have closed the case. There are fines of around 46 million euros for two legal entities, this affects LGT,” the spokesman said on Thursday, confirming a report in Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Procedures against a further 46 people accounting for fines of around 4 million euros had also been dropped, he said.

In March, the German cabinet approved a tax agreement with Liechtenstein aimed at improving cooperation and information sharing between Berlin and the Alpine principality, a government spokesman said. [ID:nLDE6291IU]

LGT in 2008 became the centre of a German probe into tax evasion in the tiny principality after Berlin paid a former employee to access bank client data.

“The settlement is not connected with any admission of guilt by the people affected or the bank. We decided to take this step to avoid long-lasting and damaging legal disputes,” said LGT spokesman Christof Buri.

LGT CHAPTER CLOSED

Germany was an important market for LGT, he said: “That is why it was important for us to close this chapter.”

The scandal led Liechtenstein, a financial centre wedged between Switzerland and Austria, to ease its strict bank secrecy, prompting similar concessions from other tax havens such as Switzerland.

German prosecutors earlier this year bought CDs containing client account data stolen from Swiss wealth managers Credit Suisse CSGN.VX and Julius Baer BAER.VX, ratcheting up the pressure on Switzerland with raids at every Credit Suisse office in Germany. [ID:nLDE69H1KT]

Switzerland then agreed in October to resolve the problem of untaxed money stashed away by Germans in Swiss accounts and to introduce a withholding tax on deposits while preserving bank secrecy. [ID:nLDE69Q23R]

Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that German authorities had conducted further raids at the homes of Credit Suisse client advisers in the southern German region near Lake Constance in recent days.

A Credit Suisse spokesman confirmed there had been raids but declined to give specific details. ($1=.7559 Euro) (Reporting by Matthias Inverardi and Oliver Hirt; Writing by Jason Rhodes and Edward Taylor; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

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