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Offshore tax evasion: obviously, a top-tier priority for the IRS

"Follow the money."

Those were the words uttered recently by a top IRS official within the agency's Criminal Investigation division (CI) concerning government attempts to track down alleged tax evaders with money secreted away in foreign accounts.

The CI's targeting of suspected wrongdoers and subsequent investigations geared toward criminal indictments and/or heavy civil penalties are ongoing and unsparing of both agency time and resources. Indeed, our June 26 blog post referenced the "relentless probing of Americans holding accounts abroad in foreign financial institutions."

That probing was well evidenced recently by an announcement that a former high-placed bank investment officer with Credit Suisse in Switzerland had come to the United States to cooperate with prosecutors and tax officials in a probe centered on the identification and punishment of alleged tax evaders hiding money in offshore accounts.

A recent Bloomberg article notes that Ex-Credit Suisse banker and supervisor Ruegg Meier, who handled many accounts for ultra-wealthy American account holders for a number of years, pleaded guilty last month to federal conspiracy charges. Prosecutors say that Meier played a centrally active role in helping clients dodge U.S. tax authorities through strategies employed to hide taxable income and assets.

The fear factor has got to be markedly high for many of those individuals, given Meier's reported admittance in a statement to law enforcers that she knew many American customers "utilized their accounts at Credit Suisse to evade their U.S. income taxes."

Meier is far from being the sole Credit Suisse principal indicted in the matter. Several other former bank officials have also pleaded guilty.

Moreover, notes Bloomberg, a bank subsidiary paid a whopping $2.6 billion in penalties in 2014 after admitting its role in helping "thousands of American evade losses."

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