Swiss Government Clears Way for First Group of Swiss Banks to Enter DOJ Amnesty Program

Swiss Government Clears Way for Initial Group of Swiss Banks to Enter U.S. Department of Justice Amnesty Program

The Swiss government recently cleared the way for a number of Swiss banks to enroll in the recently-announced U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) amnesty program for Swiss banks. The program, referred to as the “Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks” (the “NPA Program”), allows Swiss banks to resolve, in full, any and all potential criminal exposure the institution may have for prior violations of U.S. tax or monetary laws and regulations, provided the institution is not already under DOJ investigation. Before applying for acceptance into the NPA Program and disclosing the required information regarding its American account holders, a Swiss bank must get approval from the Swiss government.

In exchange for immunity from criminal prosecution, the participating Swiss bank must pay a steep penalty for each undisclosed U.S.-related account and provide DOJ with information on all U.S.-related accounts that it has closed since August 1, 2008, including a list of jurisdictions and institutions to which funds from closed accounts have been transferred. Although the Swiss government did not reveal specific information regarding the identity or number of banks it pre-cleared to enter the NPA Program, numerous Swiss regional banks have publicly disclosed that they have decided to join the program, including Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, Banque Cantonale de Geneve, Hyposwiss PrivatBank Zurich AG, and Hyposwiss Private Bank Geneve SA. It is anticipated that as many as 100 Swiss banks will eventually join the program.

For more informaiton, view the press release from the Department of Justice website.


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