Swiss bank Credit Suisse may have got off easy when it paid a $2.6 billion fine in a federal criminal case last month, Newsweek suggests. The magazine reports that a White House official who formerly worked for the bank’s lobbyist in Washington called Deputy Attorney General James Cole with a message that the bank wanted to settle. What the bank didn’t do was “reveal the names of what a Senate subcommittee said were 22,000 tax-dodging Americans hiding up to $12 billion offshore through the bank,” Newsweek says.
“The names issue was critical and what [the Justice Department] negotiated for very, very hard,” says a former Justice Department official. “It changed the course of banking. I don't see that here.” Credit Suisse gave the Justice Department only 238 names, and those weren't particularly valuable. “Honestly, I think most of the clients they outed are dead,” one person familiar with the case told the magazine.