Credit Suisse has frozen dozens of accounts as it tries to determine if U.S. clients are hiding money from the Internal Revenue Service after the firm pledged to come clean about secret assets, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Bloomberg News reports that the bank is looking at indicators such as phone numbers or powers of attorney to determine whether Americans are the true owners of accounts not disclosed to the IRS, according to the person, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter. Any client activity on these accounts now requires approval by a group within Credit Suisse, the person said.
The unusual move to freeze accounts came in the past week as the U.S. stepped up a Justice Department investigation into why Credit Suisse neglected to tell them about $200m in assets held by an American client who pleaded guilty November 4 to conspiring to defraud the IRS, according to several people familiar with the matter.
The bank wants to show that any hidden accounts were a lapse in controls and not a criminal act, another person familiar with the matter said.
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