Senators urge DOJ to extradite Swiss bankers indicted for aiding U.S. tax evasion

Senators Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and John McCain (R-Arizona) wrote a letter in March urging the Justice Department to file formal extradition requests for dozens of Swiss bankers and financial advisors charged with facilitating U.S. tax evasion. 

Although the Justice Department has indicted 35 bankers and 25 financial advisors for helping U.S. clients avoid taxes by hiding money in secret Swiss accounts, the Department has yet to file extradition requests for the indicted bankers and advisors who remain in Switzerland.

“We have not filed an extradition request because…through our experience and our Office of International Affairs the Swiss will not extradite their citizens,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole testified at the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearing on Feb. 26th. “So we’ve been focusing our efforts on things we thought would be more productive.”

Levin criticized the Department’s decision not to request extradition of the indicted bankers, the majority of whom “live openly in Switzerland, having avoided trial on their alleged crimes for years.”

“The failure to even seek extradition says something about our will power,” Levin said at the hearing.

In the Levin-McCain letter, the Senators pointed out that the U.S.-Swiss extradition treaty “does not bar the extradition of Swiss nations who assisted U.S. nationals in the commission of criminal tax evasion”.

“We urge DOJ to at least attempt to use the authorities laid out in that treaty,” wrote Levin and McCain. “Even if a request is unsuccessful, it will inform both Switzerland and its citizens that the United States is ready to make full use of available legal tools to stop facilitation of U.S. tax evasion and hold alleged wrongdoers accountable.”


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