News Column

Liechtenstein Paying $24 Million in Tax Case

Jul 30 2013 6:24PM

A Liechtenstein bank will pay the US government 23.8 million dollars to avoid prosecution for accepting undeclared accounts from the United States, the US Justice Department said Tuesday.

The Vaduz-based Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG (LLB-Vaduz) also turned over information on more than 200 US depositors under the agreement with the US government.

As a result of the agreement LLB-Vaduz will not be criminally prosecuted for opening and maintaining undeclared bank accounts for US depositors from 2001-11, hiding the money from US authorities and assisting in tax evasion.

The settlement constitutes more than 16.3 million dollars in revenue from the undeclared accounts and more than 7.5 million dollars in restitution of US taxes avoided by the account holders.

"This non-prosecution agreement addresses the past wrongful conduct of LLB-Vaduz in allowing US taxpayers to evade their legal obligations through the use of undisclosed Liechtenstein bank accounts," US Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Keneally.

She acknowledged LLB-Vaduz's "extraordinary efforts" to make significant changes in Liechtenstein banking law last year. That legislation allowed LLB-Vaduz to give US authorities bank files of non-compliant US taxpayers without having to identify the taxpayers by name.

"As a result of new Liechtenstein legislation, US taxpayers who thought that they had obtained the benefit of Liechtenstein's tax secrecy laws have learned that their bank files were turned over on the request of the Department of Justice," Keneally said.

Richard Weber, criminal investigations chief for the US Internal Revenue Service, said that LLB-Vaduz began requiring all US taxpayers to declare their income in 2008, prior to the start of the probe by US authorities.

"Today's action sends a strong message to those Americans who hide their true income from the IRS: It's time to come clean and pay your fair share of taxes like law-abiding citizens do every day," Weber said.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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