* Kathryn Keneally spent two years at Justice Department
* Credit Suisse was largest bank in decades to plead guilty
to aiding tax evasion
(Adds details on Keneally's tenure and Swiss bank settlement,
WASHINGTON May 27 The U.S. Justice Department's
top tax enforcement official will leave the agency next week,
after securing a $2.6 billion settlement and guilty plea from
Credit Suisse over charges the Swiss bank helped
Americans evade U.S. taxes.
Kathryn Keneally's last day will be June 5, the Justice
Department said on Tuesday.
"As a result of her determined efforts ... the Tax Division
has secured historic gains in our fight to protect the American
people from tax fraud and financial misconduct," Attorney
General Eric Holder said.
Keneally, 56, said in a statement that she is looking
forward to returning to her home in New York.
Keneally started in March 2012, filling a position that was
without a confirmed nominee for the first three years of Barack
Credit Suisse on May 19 became the largest bank in decades
to plead guilty to a criminal charge after facing accusations
that it helped American clients conceal assets in secret
accounts that were not disclosed to U.S. tax authorities.
Keneally played an essential role in negotiating the Credit
Suisse settlement, officials have said, and first alerted the
bank last October that she was prepared to recommend
More than a dozen other Swiss banks remain under
investigation for similar practices.
Keneally was respected for aggressively pursuing offshore
tax evasion, said Jay Nanavati, a former Justice Department tax
lawyer now with Baker & Hostetler LLP. With her departure, it
remains to be seen how hard the Justice Department will continue
to go after new banks suspected of helping Americans hide
assets, he added.
Keneally is leaving amid the Justice Department's first-ever
settlement program for Swiss banks that allegedly helped
Americans dodge taxes.
More than 100 Swiss banks have agreed to participate in the
program, announced last August, that allows them to avoid or
defer U.S. criminal prosecution if they pay penalties and
disclose account information about U.S. customers.
These banks have until June 30 to turn over to the Justice
Department certain information about U.S. customer accounts.
(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Howard
Goller and Andrew Hay)