(Adds interview with Keneally)
By Aruna Viswanatha
WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) - The former top U.S. tax prosecutor who helped secure $2.6 billion in penalties and a guilty plea from Credit Suisse AG on charges the Swiss bank helped Americans hide money overseas, joined the law firm DLA Piper, the firm said on Thursday.
Kathryn Keneally, who led the tax division at the U.S. Department of Justice, will join the firm’s New York office next month.
Keneally left the department in May, days after announcing the Credit Suisse agreement.
The Credit Suisse case was part of a major U.S. crackdown on Swiss banks suspected of helping wealthy Americans evade taxes. In addition to conducting investigations into Credit Suisse and a dozen other banks, the Justice Department created a program under which some Swiss banks could turn over information about offshore accounts and pay a penalty but avoid prosecution.
In an interview, Keneally said she expected the Justice Department to use more of the information it received through the program to pursue enforcement actions against banks in other parts of the world, which took the offshore accounts once they left Switzerland.
Prosecutors have brought cases involving secret accounts in India, Israel, and elsewhere.
“The Swiss bank program was designed to get information from the banks about where else in the world the money went,” Keneally said.
“I think what you will see next is the department using the information they are getting from Swiss banks for a greater global expansion of enforcement,” she said.
Keneally said the increasingly global nature of tax enforcement led her to join DLA Piper, which has 52 offices outside the United States, according to its website. The firm has an additional 30 offices within the United States, according to the website. (Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Tom Brown and Cynthia Osterman)