Swiss bank NZB sacks banker indicted in US

ZURICH: Swiss private bank Neue Zurcher Bank (NZB) said Friday it had sacked a banker who has been charged in the United States with aiding wealthy Americans to fraudulently conceal assets from tax authorities.

After hearing of the charges, NZB "immediately decided to part ways with him," a spokeswoman for the bank said.

No complaint was lodged against the bank itself, she added. She declined to comment on an ongoing legal affair in the United States.

US authorities on Thursday charged Hansruedi Schumacher, an executive manager at NZB and Matthias Rickenbach, an attorney who provided legal advice and services to US clients.

They were indicted for conspiring to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced.

According to the indictment, the two men established "sham and nominee offshore entities to hide their US clients' assets and income while allowing these clients to still control the assets and make investment decisions."

The prosecution came a day after a landmark settlement with UBS bank over tax fraud cases.

"This is another step in our ongoing effort to pursue hidden offshore assets -- no matter where they are located," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman.

"We're in the early stages of our work to crack down on offshore tax evasion."

The bank spokeswoman said NZB closed down its private banking with US clients in spring "due to the changing situation."

The accounts were closed and US clients were encouraged to voluntarily approach US tax authorities in order to benefit from temporary amnesty, she added.

NZB employs 54 people specialised in brokerage, wealth management and private banking.

It has 107 million Swiss francs (70.6 million euros) of its own capital, but client assets are deposited with other Swiss banks.