April 24 Wegelin & Co, the oldest Swiss private
bank, has forfeited more than $16 million held in a UBS AG
account, after in February becoming the first overseas
bank indicted in the United States for allegedly helping U.S.
taxpayers evade taxes.
In an order made public on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge
Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan entered the forfeiture order,
covering money seized from a U.S. correspondent account held at
UBS in Stamford, Connecticut.
U.S. prosecutors on Feb. 2 accused Wegelin of helping
clients hide more than $1.2 billion in offshore bank accounts.
They said the tax fraud conspiracy ran from 2002 and 2011, and
involved more than 100 U.S. taxpayers.
The indictment was part of a crackdown on alleged tax fraud,
including efforts to pierce the tradition of Swiss bank secrecy.
Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in New York, said the
forfeited funds will be deposited with the U.S. Treasury.
Swain's colleague, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, on Feb.
10 declared Wegelin a fugitive after it failed to answer the
criminal charge. Wegelin has no branches outside Switzerland,
and had followed the common industry practice of using
correspondent banking services to handle money for U.S. clients.