An ex-Swiss banker pleaded guilty to charges of helping wealthy American customers evade federal income taxes, shedding more light on the ongoing crackdown of many foreign banks and their practices.
Christos Bagios, formerly employed by Swiss banking giant UBS and the Credit Suisse Group, was accused of helping Americans evade millions of dollars in taxes between 1993 and 2009, a charge to which he originally plead not guilty. However, he recently changed his plea to guilty in the U.S. District Court for Southern Florida. After changing his plea, he admitted to the courtroom that he was complicit - along with five other UBS bankers - in helping high net-worth clients hide money from the Internal Revenue Service.
During this period, it is alleged that he enabled more than 150 Americans to violate federal tax law by shielding more than $500 million from authorities.
Bagios is a Greek citizen who spent more than 15 years in Switzerland. He was arrested in January 2011 in New York. After spending 37 days in custody, Bagios spent roughly 19 months in "conditions similar to home confinement" and received brief visits from his wife and children who reside in Switzerland, according to court documents. Following his decision to change his plea to guilty, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra granted Bagios' motion to obtain emergency travel documents to renew his Greek passport and return to his family in Switzerland as soon as practicable.
Bagios also gave up information about his co-conspirators that may help the government further its investigations into Swiss banks and prosecute additional parties. At present, 11 other banks are under investigation amid similar allegations.