US enforcement officials are looking for tax evaders with greater intent than ever before, and in some new jurisdictions. Asia in particular is feeling the brunt, on the heels of the "Panama Papers", the 1MDB matter, and now the US "Swiss Bank Programme" is concluded. This in turn has ramifications for banks in the regions, their employees, their clients and the lawyers who represent both. This panel explored that ripple effect. To what extent does the pursuit of an individual customer for tax evasion trigger a host of problems for banks, and is there anything they can do to minimize the backwash?
Questions the panel discussed included:
- How are banks exposed if their depositors are evading taxes?
- What are the potential ramifications for individuals within the bank?
- Are there money laundering implications?
- How do data privacy laws alter tax-enforcement actions?
- What is the extent of cooperation between various tax enforcement authorities? How do mutual legal assistance treaties come into play?
- As counsel to a bank facing this problem, what are the key strategic decisions you face?
Martin Rogers, Davis Polk & Wardwell
Kyle Wombolt, Herbert Smith Freehills
Mark Johnson, Debevoise & Plimpton
Mark Lin, Hogan Lovells
Sharon L. McCarthy, Kostelanetz & Fink