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Greek banker arrested in Credit Suisse off-shore case

A senior private banker at Credit Suisse has been arrested in the United States in connection with a federal investigation into the Swiss bank’s work with questionable offshore accounts, two people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

The banker, Christos Bagios, was arrested in New York and transferred to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he has been charged with conspiracy and fraud, these people said. These people asked for anonymity because the complaint was sealed.

The detention of Mr. Bagios, a highly unusual move, signals that the Justice Department is intensifying its scrutiny of Credit Suisse over its sale of offshore private banking services that may have allowed wealthy American clients to evade taxes. It was not clear whether Mr. Bagios, a Greek citizen, was cooperating with the investigation, a move that could increase pressure on the bank.

According to the Credit Suisse Web site, Mr. Bagios is the head of Credit Suisse’s Relationship Management West Coast group, a private banking unit that is part of Credit Suisse Private Advisors.

Credit Suisse Private Advisors is based in Zurich and sells investment and wealth management strategies to affluent individuals, families and institutions. It is registered both with the Securities and Exchange Commission and with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. It was not immediately clear whether the S.E.C. was investigating the bank.

Mr. Bagios joined Credit Suisse Private Advisors in February 2009, after 15 years at UBS. He was the international private banking representative for UBS in San Francisco and Los Angeles during the mid- to late 1990s.

UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, avoided prosecution in 2009 by paying $780 million and admitting to criminal charges that it helped wealthy Americans evade federal income taxes from 2000 to 2007. UBS settled charges by the S.E.C. that Swiss financial advisers had allowed clients to evade their tax obligations and had acted as an unregistered broker-dealer.

In 2008, a former top UBS executive, Martin Liechti, was arrested and detained in Miami in connection with a wide-ranging federal investigation of UBS. (Source: New York Times )

Ops! Another famous Greek, not to be proud of ….


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