* Rahn & Bodmer informed of U.S. investigation last week
* Bank says stopped accepting undeclared assets in 2008
ZURICH, Sept 11 Private bank Rahn & Bodmer is
under investigation by U.S. authorities, it said on Wednesday,
following a recent deal to allow some Swiss banks to pay fines
instead of facing prosecution for tax evasion by their U.S.
That deal applies to about 100 second-tier Swiss banks,
which may have to disclose information and face penalties of up
to 50 percent of assets they manage for wealthy Americans.
A group of banks already under U.S. criminal investigation
includes Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and
state-backed regional bank Zuercher Kantonalbank. A second group
of dozens more Swiss banks, which also helped weathy Americans
hide their assets, are not yet under formal investigation.
"We knew we would have to go to U.S. authorities, so we
began to prepare the documentation concerning our U.S. business
some months ago, believing we would be in the second group,"
said Rahn & Bodmer partner Christian Rahn.
"It is difficult to evaluate whether being in the first
group of banks is better for us or not," he said.
The bank was informed last week that it was under
investigation, Rahn said. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice
Department declined to comment.
The bank will not need to set aside capital to meet
regulatory requirements if it has to pay a fine, as it has
provisions which will cover a potential payment, Rahn said.
Credit Suisse and Julius Baer said in July they were
preparing information on client withdrawals demanded by U.S.
investigators to help pinpoint tax evasion, which may have
pointing the finger at other banks.
However, Rahn said he did not believe his bank was being
investigated as a result of data passed on by other banks as it
had stopped accepting undeclared U.S. assets in 2008 and advised
clients with such assets to make voluntary disclosures to the
According to its website, the Zurich-based bank managed
client assets of 12.5 billion Swiss francs ($13.4 billion) at
the end of 2012. It employs about 200 people.
It is the oldest bank remaining in the German-speaking part
of Switzerland after St. Gallen-based Wegelin shut its doors
earlier this year following an indictment and fine by U.S.
authorities for conspiring to help U.S. clients evade taxes.
UBS paid a fine of $780 million in 2009 and
delivered the names of more than 4,000 clients to avoid
indictment, giving the U.S. authorities the information that has
enabled them to pursue other Swiss banks.