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Credit Suisse settles German tax probe

Credit Suisse settles German tax probe
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Credit Suisse is to pay 150 million euros to end an investigation by the public prosecutor’s office in Duesseldorf, Germany.

The probe was into whether employees of the Swiss bank had aided tax evasion.

“A complex and prolonged legal dispute has been avoided, with an agreed solution that provides legal certainty,” Credit Suisse said in a statement.

In February prosecutors raided Credit Suisse offices in Germany as part of a broader clampdown on tax evasion in which bank Julius Baer paid a 50 million euro fine this year.

Switzerland’s banking secrecy rules, which have been used by foreigners to hide money in secret accounts, have come under pressure from other countries in recent years as their cash-strapped governments try to crack down on tax dodgers.

The settlement comes just days before Germany and Switzerland are reportedly due to sign an agreement on taxing money stashed by German citizens in Swiss accounts.

The terms of the accord were struck in August, after months of wrangling over how to regularise up to 150 billion Swiss francs in untaxed funds.

Switzerland has struck a similar deal with Britain to regulate untaxed funds, and in 2008 Liechtenstein’s LGT bank became the centre of a German probe after Berlin paid a former employee to access bank client data.

Credit Suisse is also the target of a formal US tax probe, and a number of current employees and former employees have been charged with helping US citizens dodge taxes at home.

Washington forced Switzerland to bend bank secrecy laws and hand over data on some 4,450 clients of rival UBS.

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