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Two Credit Suisse Bankers Receive Slap on the Wrist at Sentencing

Two former Credit Suisse bankers have received extraordinarily light sentences after pleading guilty and cooperating with the Department of Justice in its case against the Swiss Bank. Josef Dörig and Andreas Bachmann were each sentenced to five years' probation and a fine, sentences that are substantially lower than the recommendations under the Sentencing Guidelines.

While the guidelines provided a range of 70-87 months' imprisonment, defense attorneys asked for leniency based on several factors, including substantial cooperation with the U.S. government, extraordinary acceptance of responsibility, other consequences already suffered as a result of the convictions, and the limited role of the defendants in the overall conspiracy.

In addition to his substantial cooperation with the government, Dörig's attorney emphasized the fact that he comes from a modest working class Swiss family and does not "fit the stereotype of someone who works in the Swiss financial industry." As evidence, he cited the fact that Dörig has been married to the same woman for more than 50 years, does not drive a fancy car or live in a large house, and is not prone to lavish spending. The government agreed with the defense attorneys and recommended a sentence of probation.

Credit Suisse was one of the first Swiss banks to fall under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, as part of its ongoing crackdown on offshore tax evasion. Last year, the bank pleaded guilty to conspiring to aid tax evasion. As part of the deal, the bank agreed to pay a $2.6 billion fine to the U.S. government. Dörig and Bachmann are among dozens of Swiss bankers who were indicted by the United States, many of whom are still fugitives in Switzerland. While Switzerland has an extradition treaty with the United States, they will not extradite individuals accused of tax crimes.

Defendants who plead guilty typically receive a reduction in their sentencing guidelines calculation. Those who cooperate as part of a larger investigation often receive additional leniency, including the possibility of entering into a non-prosecution agreement with the government.

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