Switzerland's oldest bank Wegelin & Co. is to "cease to operate as a bank" after pleading guilty to helping Americans evade their taxes and agreeing to pay $57.8 million in fines to US authorities.
Wegelin, which was established in 1741, has become the first foreign bank to plead guilty to tax evasion charges in the US.
US Attorney Preet Bharara said that successfully closing the Wegelin case was a "watershed moment in our efforts to hold to account both the individuals and the banks - wherever they may be in the world - who are engaging in unlawful conduct that deprives the US Treasury of billions of dollars of tax revenue".
In 2009, a far larger Swiss bank, UBS, agreed to pay $780 million fine to US authorities following a criminal investigation into tax evasion claims. The bank paid the fine in exchange for the charges being dropped. It also agreed to reveal the details of US account holders.
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