Crime

Swiss Life settles US tax evasion charge for $77m

According to the charge, the combined group conspired to conceal over $1.45bn in offshore insurance policies from the IRS

The Swiss Life Entities have agreed to pay $77.3m in restitution, forfeitures, and penalties to the US Treasury after admitting to conspiring with US taxpayers to hide assets and income in offshore accounts.

The Department of Justice filed the charge against the Swiss insurance group and three of its subsidiaries based in Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Singapore.

According to the charge, the combined group conspired to conceal over $1.45bn in offshore insurance policies from the IRS, including more than 1,500 insurance wrapper policies, related policy investment accounts, and income generated in said accounts.

A deferred prosecution agreement of three years followed by a dismissal of the charge has been announced as a result of Swiss Life choosing to accept responsibility for the criminal conduct.

Audrey Strauss, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: “As they admit, Swiss Life and its subsidiaries sought out and offered their services to US taxpayers to help them become US tax evaders.

“The Swiss Life Entities offered private placement life insurance policies and related investment accounts to US customers, and provided services that concealed the policies and other assets from the IRS.” 

She added: “Indeed, the Swiss Life Entities saw US authorities’ stepped-up offshore tax enforcement as an opportunity to pitch themselves to tax-evading US customers as an alternative to Swiss banks. 

“Under the terms of today’s agreement, Swiss Life will turn over more than $77m and be required to continue to cooperate with the United States in identifying US tax evaders.”

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