Feb. 26 - Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan defends practices against allegations from U.S. lawmakers that the Swiss bank helps wealthy Americans evade taxes. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Credit Suisse's CEO Brady Dougan defended his bank against allegations of helping U.S. citizens avoid taxes- in front of a senate subcommittee. SOUNDBITE: BRADY DOUGAN CREDIT SUISSE CHIEF EXECUTIVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We fully recognize, Mr. Chairman, that despite our efforts, Credit Suisse has not been free of its own problems. We have invested enormous efforts to achieve as much clarity as possible about whether and to what extent Credit Suisse employees violated U.S. laws or helped clients to do so. We commissioned an independent internal investigation by U.S. and Swiss law firms that reviewed all aspects of the bank's Swiss-based private banking business with U.S. clients. The investigation identified evidence of violation of bank policy and U.S. laws that were centered on a small group of Swiss-based private bankers. The investigation evidence showed that these people went to great lengths to disguise their bad conduct from the bank. But senator Carl Levin was not letting him off that easily: SOUNDBITE: U.S. SENATOR CARL LEVIN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You hide behind Swiss secrecy laws. So we are interested in collecting taxes as well that are owed, that have been evaded, and we need the cooperation of the banks in order to do that. But if the banks won't cooperate, citing Swiss secrecy laws then we simply have got to use our own domestic laws, to force cooperation from the banks. Now you cite Swiss secrecy laws and I gather the you said I think Mr. Dougan that you don't agree with those laws. SOUNDBITE: BRADY DOUGAN CREDIT SUISSE CHIEF EXECUTIVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: " I think our position is very clear which is that we are ready to provide any information that we can legally provide but I think that as you point out the issue that we have is we have 2 different legal jurisdictions and therefore, you know, for us to break the law in one jurisdiction in order to provide that information is difficult for us to do." Dougan added that the improper conduct was in the past- and was done by a small group of private bankers. But Levin pressed the issue- pointing out the different ways the bank had helped its U.S. clients avoid taxes. SOUNDBITE: U.S. SENATOR CARL LEVIN (ENGLISH) SAYING: Your banker referred to create shell companies in tax havens knowing that then those shell corporations would deposit those funds in their accounts with your bank under the name of the shell corporation." SOUNDBITE: BRADY DOUGAN CREDIT SUISSE CHIEF EXECUTIVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I view that just as egregiously as you do Mt. Chairman I agree. SOUNDBITE: U.S. SENATOR CARL LEVIN (ENGLISH) SAYING: And who was fired for that? Was anyone fired who did that I know a number of people were fired, a number of people were let go. I just want to know. SOUNDBITE: BRADY DOUGAN CREDIT SUISSE CHIEF EXECUTIVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I believe all those people do not work for the bank anymore. " Since the U.S. crackdown on tax evasion, Switzerland's private banks have suffered outflows of funds from international clients.