An indictment was unveiled today in New York, New York, which accuses offshore financial services executives and a Swiss financial services firm of conspiring to defraud the IRS by helping three high-value U.S. taxpayers to conceal more than $ 60 million in income and assets held in undeclared offshore bank accounts and to evade US income tax.
According to the indictment, from 2009 to 2014, Ivo Bechtiger, Bernhard Lampert, Peter Rüegg, Roderic Sage, Rolf Schnellmann, Daniel Wälchli and the Swiss company Allied Finance Trust AG, based in Zurich, allegedly defrauded the IRS by covering up income and assets of some US taxpayers. clients with undeclared bank accounts located at Privatbank IHAG (IHAG), a Swiss private bank in Zurich, Switzerland and elsewhere. In order to help these clients, the defendants and others allegedly devised and used a scheme known as the “Singapore Solution” to conceal the clients’ US-based bank accounts, assets and income from US authorities. As part of the scheme, the defendants and others are said to have conspired to transfer more than $ 60 million from the undeclared IHAG bank accounts of the three US clients through a series of nominative bank accounts in Hong Kong and other locations. before returning the funds to newly opened accounts at IHAG, apparently held on behalf of a Singapore-based asset manager. US customers have reportedly paid IHAG and others significant fees to help them conceal their funds and assets.
“Prosecution of foreign tax evasion remains one of the highest priorities of the tax division,” said Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Tax Division of the Department of Justice . “Taxpayers who plan to hide money abroad – and foreign bankers, lawyers and financial professionals who design and execute strategies to aid their escape – should know that the Taxation Division and the IRS have the investigative resources and expertise to unravel even the most elaborate schemes. “
“As alleged, the individual defendants and the Swiss company Allied Finance conspired to defraud the IRS by helping US taxpayers evade their tax obligations,” said US attorney Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York. “They would have done this through an elaborate ploy of concealing the assets of clients of a Swiss private bank through nominative bank accounts in Hong Kong and elsewhere, with the funds going to the private bank on behalf of a bank. Singaporean company. One of those American clients, Wayne Chinn, has pleaded guilty to participating in the so-called “Singapore Solution”, has confiscated over $ 2 million in the United States, and is awaiting conviction for his convicted crime.
If found guilty, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, supervised release and financial penalties, and the corporate defendant faces financial penalties. An indictment is only an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.
The guilty plea of Wayne Franklyn Chinn of Vietnam and San Francisco, California, one of the U.S. taxpayers, who participated in the Singapore Solution program, was also unveiled today.
According to court documents filed as part of his guilty plea, from 2001 to 2018, Chinn hid around $ 5 million in undisclosed and untaxed income. During this period, Chinn held accounts in the name of nominees at Privatbank IHAG. Beginning in 2010, Chinn wired funds from these offshore accounts via nominee accounts in Hong Kong before returning them to newly opened accounts at IHAG held in the name of a Singapore-based trust company acting on behalf of of two foundations created to conceal Chinn’s ownership of the accounts. . Chinn then transferred the funds outside of Switzerland to undeclared accounts in Singapore. Chinn did not file any tax returns or disclose his foreign bank accounts during the years in question.
Chinn pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Chinn also consented to civil forfeiture of 83% of funds held in five accounts at two Singapore banks, resulting in the confiscation and repatriation to the United States of approximately $ 2.2 million. The civil confiscation procedure is United States of America v. Certain funds deposited in various accounts, 20 Civ. 3397 (LJL).
Chinn is due to be sentenced on November 19 and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and financial penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting Assistant Deputy Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Taxation Division of the Department of Justice; American lawyer Audrey Strauss for the Southern District of New York; and IRS-Criminal Investigation Chief James Lee made the announcement. The Office of International Affairs of the Department of Justice, the Office of the Attorney General of Singapore and the Department of Commercial Affairs of the Singapore Police Force provided considerable assistance in this case.
The IRS-Criminal Investigations Division is investigating the case.
Senior Litigation Attorney Nanette Davis and Trial Lawyer Sean Green of the Department of Justice Tax Division and Deputy U.S. Attorney Olga Zverovich of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York continue the case .