U.S. Wants Swiss Banker in Court for Bail Hearing
A Swiss banker accused of helping American clients cheat on their taxes is a fugitive who must show up in a New York courtroom if he wants bail, U.S. prosecutors argued in a legal filing.
Stefan Buck, who was Bank Frey & Co.’s head of private banking in Switzerland and an executive board member, was indicted in April 2013 on a charge of conspiring to help clients hide millions of dollars in offshore assets from the Internal Revenue Service.
Buck, 34, who hasn’t appeared in federal court in New York, asked Nov. 18 for a bail package without leaving Switzerland, which doesn’t extradite citizens for tax offenses. Prosecutors urged a judge to deny Buck’s request, saying he’s a fugitive, despite his claims to the contrary.
Buck “can and should travel to the United States, make an appearance, and then, if he wishes, make a legitimate bail application,” according to the government’s filing yesterday. Buck shouldn’t “be permitted to remain safely ensconced in Switzerland, ask this court to provide guarantees regarding bail before he decides to set foot in the courthouse.”
Buck is one of three dozen foreign bankers, lawyers and advisers charged by U.S. prosecutors fighting offshore tax evasion. Several pleaded guilty, including Buck’s co-defendant Edgar Paltzer, 58, a Swiss lawyer who is cooperating with prosecutors and returned to Switzerland while on bail. Last month, former UBS AG (UBSN) global wealth-management chief Raoul Weil was acquitted of tax conspiracy charges.
In a Nov. 18 filing requesting a bail hearing without Buck appearing in court, his lawyer Marc Agnifilo said “where the defendant wishes to leave the ‘safe haven’ of Switzerland to appear in a U.S. court to clear his name, the government, most respectfully, should be open to practical solutions to this laudable result.”