In the first-ever indictment of an overseas bank in the U.S. for facilitating tax fraud, the Justice Department has charged Wegelin & Co., Switzerland’s oldest bank, with allegedly conspiring to hide more than $1.2 billion from the Internal Revenue Service.

U.S. officials said Thursday they have seized $16 million from Wegelin’s U.S. correspondent bank account in connection with the indictment and a warrant. The bank recently announced plans to separate its U.S. operations from its non-U.S. operations. Other Swiss banks such as Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and Basler Kantonalbank have also come under pressure recently from the IRS and the Justice Department, following a crackdown on UBS in 2008 (see Swiss Official Urges U.S. Tax Deal to Shield Other Banks).

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