Credit Suisse under fire as clients hunted for tax evasion

This Oct. 21, 2015 file photo shows the logo of the Swiss bank Credit Suisse, in Zurich, Switzerland. (AP)
Updated 02 April 2017
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Credit Suisse under fire as clients hunted for tax evasion

AMSTERDAM/ZURICH: Swiss bank Credit Suisse has been dragged into yet more tax evasion and money laundering investigations, after a tip-off to Dutch prosecutors about tens of thousands of suspect accounts triggered raids in five countries.
Coordinated raids began on Thursday in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, France and Australia, the Dutch office for financial crimes prosecution (FIOD) said on Friday, with two arrests confirmed so far.
The Dutch are “investigating dozens of people who are suspected of tax fraud and money laundering,” the prosecutors said, adding that suspects had deposited money in a Swiss bank without disclosing that to authorities.
British tax authorities said they had opened a criminal investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering by “a global financial institution” and would be focusing initially on “senior employees,” along with an unspecified number of customers.
Prosecutors in the German city of Cologne said they were also working with the Dutch. “We have launched an investigation against clients of a bank,” a spokesman said.
None of the authorities disclosed the name of the bank involved. However, Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, said local authorities had visited its offices in Amsterdam, London and Paris “concerning client tax matters” and it was cooperating.
It said later it had launched an internal probe. “The investigation will be executed by compliance, it will not be executed by the business,” Iqbal Khan, who is responsible for Credit Suisse’s private banking operations outside Switzerland and Asia Pacific, told Reuters.
“If any individuals are implicated or have violated against these processes or procedures or policies that are in place then we will identify that very quickly.”
The Dutch FIOD seized administrative records as well as the contents of bank accounts, real estate, jewelry, a luxury car, expensive paintings and a gold bar from houses in four Dutch towns and cities. The FIOD tweeted a photo of some of the seized assets.


BMW plans massive cost cuts to keep profits from sputtering

Updated 55 min 54 sec ago
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BMW plans massive cost cuts to keep profits from sputtering

  • ‘Our business model must remain a profitable one in the digital era,’ chief executive Harald Krueger said
  • Total number of employees is set to remain flat at around 135,000 worldwide

MUNICH: German high-end carmaker BMW warned Wednesday it expects pre-tax profits “well below” 2018 levels this year as it announced a massive cost-cutting scheme aimed at saving $13.6 billion (€12 billion) in total by 2022.
A spokesman said that “well below” could indicate a tumble of more than 10 percent.
The Munich-based group’s 2019 result will be burdened with massive investments needed for the transition to electric cars, exchange rate headwinds and rising raw materials prices, it said in a statement.
Meanwhile it must pump more cash into measures to meet strict European carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions limits set to bite from next year.
And a one-off windfall in 2018’s results will create a negative comparison, even though pre-tax profits already fell 8.1 percent last year.
Bosses expect a “slight increase” in sales of BMW and Mini cars, with a slightly fatter operating margin that will nevertheless fall short of their 8.0-percent target.
“We will continue to implement forcefully the necessary measures for growth, continuing performance increases and efficiency,” finance director Nicolas Peter said at the group’s annual press conference.
BMW aims to achieve €12 billion of savings in the coming years through “efficiency improvements” including reducing the complexity of its range.
“Our business model must remain a profitable one in the digital era,” chief executive Harald Krueger said.
This year, most new recruits at the group will be IT specialists, while the total number of employees is set to remain flat at around 135,000 worldwide.
Departures from the sizeable fraction of the workforce born during the post-World War II baby boom and now reaching retirement age “will allow us to adapt the business even more to future topics,” BMW said.
All the firm’s forecasts are based on London and Brussels reaching a deal for an orderly Brexit and the United States foregoing new import taxes on European cars.
“Developments in tariffs” remain “a significant factor of uncertainty” in looking to the future, finance chief Peter said, adding that “the preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU will weigh on 2019’s results as well.”
In annual results released ahead of schedule last Friday, BMW blamed trade headwinds and new EU emissions tests for net profits tumbling 16.9 percent in 2018, to €7.2 billion.