Swiss Bank Pictet Probed by US Senate Finance Committee Chair

(Bloomberg) -- The US Senate Finance Committee is seeking information on whether Swiss bank Pictet is abetting tax evasion on an ongoing basis by a US citizen under criminal investigation.

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The committee has reviewed evidence of suspicious internal transfers between Pictet accounts, committee Chair Ron Wyden said in a statement. The panel also is looking into whether the conduct is covered by a $123 million fine the bank paid as part of an agreement with the Justice Department last year.

In a letter to Pictet Managing Partner Laurent Ramsey, Wyden said documents reviewed by the Finance Committee “raise questions as to the thoroughness of a recent settlement between Pictet and the US government.”

Wyden in his letter said it was unclear whether any of the accounts in question were included as part of the resolution with the Justice Department.

Banque Pictet & Cie SA in December agreed to pay $123 million to resolve a US investigation into how it helped Americans hide more than $5.6 billion in secret bank accounts. The US said it will drop the case after three years if the bank agrees to certain conditions, including protecting against future tax evasion.

A Pictet spokesperson didn’t comment on Wyden’s letter and referred to a previous statement from December saying the resolution follows Pictet’s extensive cooperation with the US authorities, in full compliance with Swiss law.

--With assistance from Myriam Balezou and Steven Arons.

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