The bank, Switzerland’s oldest at the time, admitted that it willfully ignored tax evasion allegedly committed by its American customers. The bank said it was simply following Swiss banking privacy laws and thought it would be protected from prosecution by U.S. law enforcement because it didn’t have a physical presence in the U.S.
The guilty plea, which came with $74 million in fines and forfeits, came as the bank, weakened by its tussle with the U.S., was in the process of winding down. Parts of the bank that were untainted by the tax problems were sold and are now operating as Notenstein Private Bank.
• Bank Frey: Bank Frey & Co. AG, a boutique lender with an office on Zurich’s toniest street, said in October 2013 it was closing its doors in part because of its “tax dispute with the USA.” The bank is one of about a dozen being investigated by the Justice Department for helping Americans evade taxes.
The decision to cease operations followed an indictment of Frey’s head of private banking, who was accused of helping Americans avoid their obligations. An outside attorney, who later pleaded guilty, was also indicted.
Bank Frey is in the process of winding down its