NEWARK, New Jersey: A Swiss banker used a toothpaste tube a decade ago to smuggle diamonds into the U.S. Prosecutors now say an Israeli bank employee devised a new way to help a U.S. client hide assets from the Internal Revenue Service: She carried account statements into the country on a USB flash drive concealed in her necklace. The businessman, Masud Sarshar, agreed to plead guilty to hiding more than $21 million through accounts at Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. and two other Israeli banks, the Justice Department said Monday. Bank Secrets are known.
The case comes as the U.S. shifts the focus of its offshore tax cases beyond Switzerland. Eighty Swiss banks avoided prosecution by paying $1.37 billion in penalties and admitting how they helped Americans cheat on their taxes. Bank secrets are readily known among the wealthy.
In December 2014, Bank Leumi agreed to pay $400 million for helping American clients evade taxes for a decade. The bank also agreed to cooperate with investigators.
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Court papers spell out how Sarshar, owner of a clothing business, tried to avoid leaving a paper trail that could expose his offshore money. He used a code name in 1993 to set up an account at an unidentified Israeli bank, and he and his relationship manager at the time would secretly meet in Sarshar’s car so the manager could show him copies of his account statements. Get more info here.