Why Crime Could Kill Crypto
Justin Lahart and Telis Demos, 18 June 2021
The strongest argument against cryptocurrencies used to be that they had yet to show they were much good for anything. Now the strongest argument against them may be that they have become far too good at one thing: enabling crime.
Not long after the first of the private digital currencies, bitcoin, launched in 2009, crooks recognized its appeal. While law enforcement is proving increasingly adept at tracking bitcoin transactions and at times seizing ill-gotten money, the ability to make digital payments without financial intermediaries has facilitated activities such as the selling of illegal goods and services online and money laundering. In a 2019 paper, researchers Sean Foley, Jonathan Karlsen and Tālis Putniņš estimated that 46% of bitcoin transactions conducted between January 2009 and April 2017 were for illegal activity. Continue reading “Article: Why Crime Could Kill Crypto”
Whistle-Blower Says Credit Suisse Helped Clients Skip Taxes After Promising to Stop
Neiman, 13 March 2021
Seven years after Credit Suisse promised federal prosecutors that it would stop helping rich Americans hide their wealth from tax collectors, a whistle-blower is contending that it continued to do just that, raising the possibility that the Swiss bank could face a fresh investigation and steep financial penalties.
The allegations, laid out in documents sent last week to the Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service, were made by a former Credit Suisse employee. The former employee said that the bank continued to hide assets for its clients long after it promised prosecutors it would close those accounts, according to copies of documents obtained by The New York Times.
The whistle-blower, whose identity is unknown, is also contending that Credit Suisse lied to federal prosecutors, the Internal Revenue Service and members of Congress during their yearslong inquiry into how Swiss banks helped Americans defraud the government. Those investigations ultimately led to a settlement in May 2014 between Credit Suisse and federal prosecutors, in which the Swiss bank pleaded guilty to helping some of its American clients evade taxes by cloaking their wealth through offshore shell companies.
Credit Suisse was fined a total of $2.6 billion, but avoided even higher fines because it vowed to the Justice Department and a Senate panel that it had not only stopped the practice, but that it would close “any and all accounts of recalcitrant account holders.” The bank also pledged to help the United States pursue other criminal investigations, according to the plea agreement. Credit Suisse’s guilty plea and steep fine were rare in 2014. It was the first time in more than two decades that a lender of its size had admitted wrongdoing in an American court.
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