Washington (August 16, 2002) -- The Department of Justice has asked a federal court in Miami to allow the Internal Revenue Service to serve a "John Doe" summons on MasterCard International, which would permit the IRS to obtain information about people whose identities are not presently known. The IRS expects the information will help to identify people who use offshore accounts to evade their tax liabilities.In October 2000, the court in Miami approved a similar "John Doe" summons on MasterCard International relating to the years 1998 and 1999, for records of cards issued by banks in the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbuda, as well as the Cayman Islands. The current petition seeks records relating to the years 1999, 2000 and 2001, of cards issued by banks in more than 30 countries. Recently, a federal court in San Francisco authorized the IRS to serve a summons on Visa International for records of cards issued by banks in those same 30 countries.

"Offshore accounts have enabled people to evade billions of dollars of income taxes each year in the United States," said Eileen J. O'Connor, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Tax Division. "The information obtained with the summons will help the IRS identify more tax evaders."

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