Swiss bank Credit Suisse pleaded guilty Monday to the charge that it facilitated wealthy Americans who sought to commit tax evasion, becoming the first major bank to admit criminal wrongdoing in over 20 years and agreeing to pay $2.6 billion in fines.

The settlement announcement Monday included an acknowledgement from bank officials that they knowingly and intentionally helped thousands of US citizens put their money into offshore accounts, allowing them to hide financial assets from the US Internal Revenue Service. US Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been criticized for being too slow to go after major banks, told reporters that the admission of guilt was a major step forward for prosecutors investigating financial institutions.

“This case shows that no financial institution, no matter its size or global reach, is above the law,” Holder said, as quoted by The New York Times. “Credit Suisse conspired to help US citizens hide assets in offshore accounts in order to evade paying taxes. When a bank engages in misconduct this brazen, it should expect the Justice Department will pursue criminal prosecution to the fullest extent possible, as has happened here.”

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Posted by The NON-Conformist