(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Justice Department Thursday indicted four former Swiss bankers accused of helping Americans hide as much as $3 billion from the IRS.
Markus Walder, the former head of North America Offshore Banking at an international bank in Zurich, Susanne D. Ruegg Meier, a former manager with the international bank, Andreas Bachmann, a former banker at a subsidiary of the international bank, and Josef Dorig, founder of a Swiss trust company, were charged as part of a superseding indictment in addition to four other defendants charged earlier this year.
The Justice Department alleges that these managers and bankers solicited U.S. customers to open "secret bank accounts" that would help to hide assets and evade taxes owed to the U.S. government.
According to a release from the Justice department, the illegal cross-border banking dates back to 1953 involving two generations of Americans committing tax evasion, which included the inheritance of the secret Swiss accounts.
The Justice Department Thursday noted that the indictment is only an accusation, and that the defendants are "presumed innocent until proven guilty."
Each of the defendants face up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 if convicted.
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