26 June 2015

Zürich-based bank, Julius Baer, has set aside USD350 million to cover penalties likely to be imposed on the bank by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for allegedly helping American clients evade tax.

The sum set aside is a ‘preliminary provision’ while the bank seeks a final agreement with the US DoJ. It is much lower than expected by many banking industry analysts, especially in the light of the large penalties imposed on other banks like Credit Suisse and UBS.

‘Whilst there is no defined timetable for a final settlement, Julius Baer continues to work towards closing this regrettable legacy issue as soon as possible’, the bank said in a statement.

Julius Baer is one of 14 Swiss banks that were not eligible for the US DoJ’s offer of a non-prosecution agreement under the Swiss Bank Program, because it was already under investigation when the ‘amnesty’ was announced in June 2013.

However, a Reuters news report states that a spokesperson for Julius Baer was asked whether the bank would plead guilty to criminal charges, like Credit Suisse did to which the spokesperson reportedly answered that US DoJ officials had not requested it to do so.