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News & Events

Offshore Bank Amnesty, Société Générale Private Banking

Offshore Account Update

Posted in on November 13, 2015

There is currently an amnesty program allowing offshore banks to come forward and report their involvement in helping U.S. accountholders to evade tax obligations. There is also an amnesty program allowing individuals to come forward, report their own failures to report offshore accounts and pay a penalty.

The program applicable to banks is called the Swiss Bank Program and the program applicable to individuals is called the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP). While both mean big fines in most cases, participation in either can ensure no criminal charges will be filed. The problem is, however, once a bank or an individual is under investigation, participation is no longer an option.

Accountholders considering participating in the OVDP are in a race against the clock to decide if they want to come forward with admitting they had undeclared offshore accounts, as more and more banks enter into non-prosecution agreements. Société Générale Private Banking has become another financial institution that has reached a deal with the Department of Justice and will be providing information on its accountholders.

Once your bank gives up your info, the details the bank provides are enough to get an investigation into your accounts started -- which means it is too late for amnesty. A New Jersey criminal tax lawyer can help you respond to an investigation or try to take preemptive actions to avoid becoming a target of IRS action.

Société Générale Private Banking Turns Over Accountholder Info

Société Générale Private Banking is considered a Category 2 bank in the Swiss Bank Program. Category 1 banks are already being investigated and can’t participate. Category 2 banks know they broke the law and are prepared to come forward to report what they did and reach a deal with the DOJ.

As part of the deal that Société Générale Private Banking has reached, the bank will pay $17,807,000 and will be turning over specific information on its U.S. accountholders. The information must include details, like who the accountholders were (both individuals and entities), their relationship to the offshore account, what the account balances were, whether any U.S. securities were owned and how funds were transferred and moved around into and out of the accounts.

Société Générale Private Banking is also going to have to provide details on employees who oversaw accounts owned by people and entities with connections to the United States. The bank also has to comply with all treaty requests for information, keep its records and turn over all requested information as needed by authorities.

Société Générale Private Banking is one of many banks to give up this information and sign a non-prosecution agreement. While the bank is now free from worrying about being charged in the future, the potential legal problems faced by its accountholders are just beginning. No one with offshore funds at this bank (or any other bank) is safe from having their information provided to authorities. Now is the time to act -- contact Kevin Thorn, a criminal tax lawyer in New Jersey, today for assistance.


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