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Earlier this year, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) entered into its 80th, and final, non-prosecution agreement with a Swiss bank as part of its groundbreaking program to combat offshore tax evasion in Switzerland and beyond. The DOJ has collected over $1.36 billion in penalties from these banks, as well as detailed information to trace the assets from the banks’ US-related accounts to other financial institutions worldwide.

On August 29, 2013, the DOJ and the Swiss Federal Department of Finance announced in a joint statement the Program for Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks (Swiss Bank Program or Program). The Program provided Swiss banks with a way to resolve potential liabilities in the US for tax-related criminal offenses and be protected from prosecution, in exchange for the disclosure of certain information related to undeclared accounts in which US taxpayers had a direct or an indirect interest and the payment of penalties. (See US Dep’t of Justice, Joint Statement Between the US Dep’t of Justice and the Swiss Fed. Dep’t of Finance (Aug. 29, 2013), available at; Justice News, US and Switzerland Issue Joint Statement Regarding Tax Evasion Investigations (Aug. 29, 2013).)

Click here to read the full article.

The DOJ’s Swiss Bank Program: Lessons Learned and the Road Ahead,” Practical Law The Journal, August/September 2016



George Clarke is a partner in Baker & McKenzie’s North America Tax Practice Group in Washington, DC. His practice focuses on tax litigation and he is nationally-known for his work in civil and criminal tax matters. Mr. Clarke has authored several articles on tax law and is a contributor to the Forbes IRS Watch Blog as well as other blogs and publications. He is consistently recognized by Legal 500 as a leading adviser in tax controversy. Mr. Clarke also lends his talent to pro bono matters and has successfully represented non-enemy combatants unlawfully detained by the US in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He is a certified public accountant (inactive). Before becoming a lawyer, he served in the US Marine Corps.


Marnin Michaels is a partner in Baker & McKenzie´s Zurich office. He has been practicing for more than 15 years in the areas of tax and international private banking and handles insurance matters relating to tax investigations and wealth management. He counsels clients on US withholding tax and qualified intermediary rule, as well as money laundering avoidance legislation. Mr. Michaels was a member of the firms Steering Committee leading the US Department of Justice Initiative for Swiss Banks. In the end, the firm acted for 45 banks and the project won litigation firm of the year by American Lawyer Magazine.


Martin Furrer is a partner in Baker & McKenzie´s Zurich office. He is a member of the Management Committee of the Zurich office. He co-heads the Firm’s Real Estate Transaction and Banking & Finance practice groups in Zurich. He is a member of the Europe Real Estate Steering Committee and a former member of the European Regional Council and the Policy Committee of Baker & McKenzie International. He is ranked among the leading lawyers in his areas of practice by various publications, including Legal 500 and Chambers Europe. Before joining Baker & McKenzie, Mr. Furrer worked for McKinsey & Company as a management consultant. He currently serves as a member of the board of directors of publicly listed and non-listed companies.