Move to SwitzerlandWe want to tell about a story that can happen to many Swiss bank account holders and how we helped to solve it.

Recently, Credit Suisse freeze the account of an American client for tax reasons. They followed the order of the Court of Southern District of New York. However this decision was ruled as illegal action by the Commercial Court in Zurich (Handelsgericht des Kantons Zürich). They found out that here, the freezing of accounts was only made to protect the own financial interests of the bank and that the bank cannot transfer the corporate risk on the shoulders of their customers.

First Credit Suisse had blocked several accounts of William Millard, famous pioneer of computer technology. They wanted his money to cover their own fines. After they used his accounts for their own purposes, the client went to the Commercial Court. The Commercial Court of Zurich has now ruled this behavior of Credit Suisse as illegal and irresponsible. “A bank with international customers should know the risks they run and cannot download them to their client,” states the official verdict. Swiss banks cannot freeze accounts for tax purposes. In the meantime William Millard has moved his official residency to the Cayman Islands. He now has the right to ask back all frozen funds. Also Credit Suisse has to pay all his legal costs and expenses for lawyers.

“In case of an investigation against the bank, Credit Suisse would have even risked a criminal conviction. They could have been convicted for having committed acts on behalf of a foreign state, according to Article 271 of the Swiss Penal Code,” says Swiss Banking Lawyer, Enzo Caputo from Zurich.Caputo & Partners AG are specialized in undeclared and frozen bank accounts.Because according to Article 271 of the Swiss Penal Code “Whoever, without authorization, performs in Switzerland, on behalf of a foreign state is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years.”

If a foreign authority wants to freeze accounts in Switzerland, there is only one way to go – the international mutual procedure for legal assistance. To be justified, the actions must always be based on very serious crimes such as money laundering, fraud, etc., but not for a simple tax debt of USD 118 million, as in this case. In Switzerland, tax dodgers are not considered as criminals in front of the law. Therefore it is illegal to freeze their bank accounts for tax purposes only. Any Swiss bank accounts cannot be frozen based on tax reasons only.