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Ian Herbert Quoted on Impact of Wyden's Latest Swiss Banking Probe in Law360

"Swiss Bank Probe May Prompt IRS to Revive Disclosure Effort"


Ian Herbert discussed whether Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden's (D-OR) latest investigation into the Swiss banking industry may apply further pressure to federal law enforcement officials to increase scrutiny on foreign banks. Wyden's actions could be a signal to the IRS to reopen the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP), Herbert said. In a recent letter to the Pictet Group, a Swiss bank that entered a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the DOJ last year, Senator Wyden expressed concern that the agreement may not cover all U.S. law violations. Herbert suggested that the Pictet inquiry is seemingly "following the same playbook" as Senator Wyden's inquiry into Credit Suisse last year. In a report published in March 2023, Senator Wyden and the Senate Finance Committee found that Credit Suisse had breached its plea agreement with the DOJ and may still be facilitating tax evasion. With another Swiss bank investigation underway, Senator Wyden could be bolstering his case to revive dormant enforcement tools such as the IRS's OVDP, Herbert said. "I would expect the most natural step seems to be to continue to push for increased disclosures or a reopening of the disclosure program, but I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of additional legislation," Herbert said.