Dutch authorities carry out raids in tax evasion probe

The Dutch prosecutor's office, in a separate statement, said it's investigating dozens of people who are suspected of tax fraud and money laundering.

Dutch tax authorities said new technology, greater global co-operation and the lifting of bank secrecy are making it easier for authorities to find tax evaders and their money.

The coordinated raids, carried out in the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Australia and France on Thursday, followed consultations with national governments.

"The investigation has brought to light several thousand bank accounts opened in Switzerland that weren't declared by their owners to French tax services", The French financial prosecutor said in a statement.

Credit Suisse has paid more than 2 billion Swiss francs ($2 billion) since 2011 in the United States, Germany and Italy to settle allegations it helped clients dodge taxes.

"The undeclared assets hidden within offshore accounts and policies are estimated in the millions of euros".

Though FiOD did not name the bank Credit Suisse later confrimed it was the one concerned.

Swiss banks have come under increased scrutiny in recent years amid an worldwide crackdown on tax evasion.

"The investigation will be executed by compliance, it will not be executed by the business", Iqbal Khan, who is responsible for Credit Suisse's private banking operations outside Switzerland and Asia Pacific, said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

Credit Suisse is cooperating with the authorities, the bank said in a statement Friday, without elaborating on the reason for the visits. Information about a further 3,800 Dutch people was also received, and in the Netherlands there are "dozens of suspects", she said.

'Any notion that Swiss banks are better at banking than other banks in other countries is simply untrue, they just don't play by the rules'.

British tax authorities confirmed they had launched a criminal investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering "by a global financial institution and certain of its employees".

Dutch investigators added that more actions will be carried out in the coming weeks. Swiss banks in 2018 will start providing data on accounts to tax officials in countries that meet standards set by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Credit Suisse has previously been in the crosshairs of tax officials.

"The worldwide reach of this investigation sends a clear message that there is no hiding place for those seeking to evade tax", HMRC said.

  • Rosalie Stanley