Swiss private bank BBVA Suiza S.A. has reached resolution with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) over the tax evasion cases under the department’s Swiss bank programme.
The bank has agreed to pay a penalty of $10.39m to the US to avoid prosecution over allegations that it helped US citizens avoid paying taxes.
Under the terms of the non-prosecution deal, BBVA Suiza agreed to cooperate in any related criminal or civil proceedings, demonstrate its implementation of controls to prevent misconduct involving undeclared US accounts and pay penalties.
The US DoJ in a statement said that the bank held a total of 38 US related accounts with approximately $157m in assets under management.
The bank offered several Swiss banking services that helped US clients hide assets from the IRS including opening and maintaining undeclared accounts for US taxpayers, option to hold mail at BBVA Suiza and providing Swiss travel-cash cards.
Also, BBVA Suiza transferred the assets of some US clients in ways that concealed the US nature of those accounts, using cash or check withdrawals, wire transfers and sham transfers to nominee account holders.
BBVA Suiza is wholly owned by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria and is part of the BBVA Group.
IRS Large Business & International Division (LB&I) acting deputy commissioner international David Horton said: "Working with DOJ, we continue to uncover both those who hid offshore accounts and those who aided this illegal activity."