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Credit Suisse Approaches Plea Agreement

After several months of investigation, U.S. prosecutors are closer to obtaining a guilty plea, as well as an agreement with Credit Suisse Group AG to pay over $1 billion to settle claims that the bank aided wealthy Americans in evading taxes.

U.S. officials' confidence regarding the settlement grows stronger daily. However, these officials are working closely with the Federal Reserve and New York's Department of Financial Services to determine whether shutting down Credit Suisse would negatively affect the economy.

Credit Suisse's $1 billion settlement will exceed the $780 million amount that UBS AG agreed to pay in 2009 to settle a case involving similar allegations.

Credit Suisse isn't the only target of the Justice Department. There are around 12 Swiss banks currently under criminal investigation for allegedly helping Americans evade taxes. Among the group is BNP Paribas SA which is also facing accusations of potential evasion of U.S. sanctions.

The Justice Department has over 100 Swiss bank applicants for a program in which they will willingly divulge information on actions to help American avoid taxes. These banks would still pay fines as a result, but will not be criminally prosecuted.

Source: Barrett, Devlin and Revill, John, "Credit Suisse Nears Record Tax Plea," The Wall Street Journal, May 5, 2014.

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